The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, has blamed the pressure on the judiciary on Nigerians filing many frivolous cases in different courts, describing
Nigerians as the most litigious people on earth.
Ariwoola who made the accusation on Monday in Abuja at the Supreme Court during a special session to mark the 2022/2023 legal year and the inauguration of the 62 new Senior Advocates of Nigeria, advised that the “public should do less litigation and embrace alternative dispute resolution to free courts from unnecessary pressure.”
Justice Ariwoola explained that in 2021/2022 alone, the Supreme Court had in its docket a total of 1,764 cases, comprising motions and appeals.
“Out of the figure, the justices of the court heard 816 civil, 370 criminal and 16 political matters, making a total of 1,202 motions,” he said.
“In every little disagreement, we rush to court; and in every lost case, we rush to appeal even up to the Supreme Court, no matter how little the issue might be. That has obviously accounted for the several appeals pending in Supreme Court.
“Though we receive scathing criticisms from members of the public over our over-blotted docket, we are neither in any position to regulate case inflow to the court nor have the supernatural powers to attend to all in one fell swoop.
“Our pending backlog of civil appeals are 4,741, while the number of pending criminal appeals is 1,392. On the other hand, we have 751 moribund appeals for disposal. That brings the total number of pending appeals in this honourable court to 6,884.
“Out of the 4,741 appeals in the court’s docket, 1,495 have briefs filed and exchanged and are ready for hearing; whereas, the remaining 3,246 appeals are having about 10,000 motions, with some contentious and others innocuous in nature.
“As for the pending 1,392 criminal appeals, 461 already had briefs filed and exchanged and are ready for hearing. The remaining 931 appeals have about 2,000 different motions for hearing to determine their eligibility for hearing.
“However, the identified 751 moribund appeals are to be disposed of for non-compliance with the Supreme Court Rules, i.e. Order 8 Rule 8.
“Available facts on judicial activities in various jurisdictions across the globe still emphatically confirmed that the Supreme Court of Nigeria remains the busiest and most hard-working Supreme Court in the world.
“It is on record that we work from Monday to Friday every week. We conduct sittings daily. It is only on Wednesdays we do Chamber sitting to consider non-contentious matters. On Fridays, we deliver judgments and rulings.”
Justice Ariwoola, however, advocated for an alternative dispute resolution mechanisms instead of incessant rush to court after every disagreement.
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