The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, on Tuesday charged judicial officers to remain resolute and committed to their oath of office especially in the build-up to the next general election in 2019.
He called on the judicial officers to always uphold the constitution of the country and to always remember that Nigeria will be doomed without the rule of law.
He stated this at the commissioning of an ultra-modern Court of Appeal Complex, in Calabar, Cross River State.
“I use this opportunity to still call on judicial officers in the country to remain steadfast to their oath of office, the constitution of the country and continue to remember that without the rule of law, the society is doomed.
“Hold firm to the wheels of justice and ensure that when cases are placed on a scale, whichever weighs more should be where the judgment should go. It does not matter whose ox is gored because the society depends on us and the decision you have to take. The society survives because you are courageous enough to tell whoever is wrong that he or she is wrong.
“Politicians are warming up with all sort of gimmicks, tactics and plans, all judicial officers should be ready to do justice to all manner of persons without fear or ill will because the public solely depends on their decisions,” he said.
On the ultra-modern Court of Appeal Complex building he said that the the edifice is poignant for him, recalling how as a young lawyer, he would travel to Enugu for several cases from Calabar because of the absence of an Appeal Court in Calabar.
Also recalling how a number of lawyers had accidents and died on the journeys to Enugu, the CJN said that the presence of the court in Calabar will help mitigate such occurrences.
Onnoghen was accompanied by the president of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, and Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State to the commissioning of the project.
The former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Chief Kanu Agabi, SAN, speaking on behalf of the profession, applauded the judiciary for standing firm saying that the sectors decisions over time helped prevent anarchy in Nigeria.
He said, “By sound judgments, the judges and justices have immortalized themselves. The monuments that we build will all one day be erased even this Court of Appeal will one day cease to be. There is no structure standing in the country today that will not one day be demolished, but not the judgments of our court.
“The decisions of our courts are shaping the country and by these, the judges have demonstrated their capacity and disposition to save the country from anarchy. They are proving that it is indeed the third arm of government.”
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