The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Ibrahim Muhammad, has said his administration would not tolerate the disobedience of court orders by government at all levels.
The CJN, who was speaking on Monday at a special session to mark the beginning of the 2019/2020 legal year, noted that the rule of law which is the mainstay of every democracy across the world must be strictly observed.
“All binding court orders must be obeyed. Nobody, irrespective of his or her position, will be allowed to toy with court judgments.”
He called on all to collectively show the desired commitment to the full enthronement of the rule of law in Nigeria.
“As we all know, flagrant disobedience of court orders or non-compliance with judicial orders is a direct invitation to anarchy in the society,” he said.
“Such acts are completely antithetical to the rule of law in a democratic environment, and will not be tolerated under my watch as Chief Justice of Nigeria.
“We must work together to make Nigeria one of the frontline countries that observe the rule of law and rights of the citizens in all ramifications.”
Muhammad further said the Nigerian judiciary might be independent in conducting the cases brought before it, but the independence had been lost to lack of financial freedom.
He likened the state of the Nigerian judiciary’s independence to a cow that is asked to graze freely but remained tied firmly to a tree.
He said, “Be that as it may, when we assess the judiciary from the financial perspective, how free can we say we are?
“The annual budget of the judiciary is still a far cry from what it ought to be.
“The figure is either stagnated for a long period or it goes on a progressive decline.”
He also complained about judges’ salaries.
He said, “I make bold to say that the salaries of judicial officers in Nigeria are still far from an ideal package to take home.
“Effort should be made by the relevant authorities to increase the salary and also work out measures to improve the welfare package of judicial officers, especially after retirement.”
He appealed to the federal and state governments, saying: “I am using this medium to appeal to governments at all levels to free the judiciary from the financial bondage it has been subjected over the years.”
He said that the judiciary under him was vigorously embracing technology to fast track its processes.
“We have automated our library with Liberty5 software, our classifications and catalogues are now done online,” he said.
“We have also subscribed to Weatlaw which has content of over 6000 law books and journals, and access to the library will soon be made available to everyone that is entitled to browse.”
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