Stakeholders decry inconsistent Appeal Court judgments, task judiciary on efficiency
A lawyer and lecturer in the Faculty of Law, Lagos State University (LASU), Dr Gbenga Ojo has described the inconsistencies in the judgments delivered by the Court of Appeal judges as worrisome and condemnable.
He suggested that a central portal be created for the appellate court judges to have a cross exchange of ideas.
He made this known while delivering a lecture with the theme, “Effective Justice System As Panacea For Change,” at the 2015 National Association of Judiciary Correspondents (NAJUC) annual lecture held at Airport Hotel, Ikeja.
Dr Ojo posited that the delay in the administration of criminal justice has remained a major constraint in the real time dispensation of justice across the country.
He emphasized that such inconsistencies in the appellate court judgments are becoming embarrassing. The law lecturer expressed concern that the Nigerian judicial system has continued to remain analogue rather than going digital.
“Legal practitioners are not doing enough in ensuring effective justice system in the country. There is therefore the need for continuous legal training for stakeholders in the Nigerian legal system.
“The menace of corruption must be fought holistically if it must be eradicated. There is the need to deploy massively, Information Communications Technology (ICT) in the practice of law in Nigeria. Appeal Court judgments must be made consistent at all times.
“There is also the need to have specialised judges for specialised cases. I am also suggesting that there is the need for specialised courts for financial crimes”, he said.
In his own submission, Executive Director of Assess to Justice, Mr. Joseph Otteh commended the media for its role in furthering the course of change in Nigeria.
Otteh said that effective justice system is needed to guarantee change, good governance and democracy, adding that the judiciary is the guardian of the constitution all over the world.
His word: “If our democracy must succeed, then our judiciary must succeed. Our justice system is not protected and discourages economic investment in Nigeria.
“The Nigerian justice system is not working because it is a major barrier to itself. Judges behave the way they do because of the oversight in the accountability expected of them.
“The corruption within the justice system needs to be seriously tackled. Unwarranted transfers of judges and magistrates should be seriously tackled because it slows down the course of justice.
“Chief Judges should begin to exercise their discretion in a more responsible manner.”
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Babatunde Fashanu said effective justice delivery, cannot be the only way the Nigerian problems could be solved.
He said: “It is very important that we get our justice system right. There are very courageous judges, especially in the Lagos State judiciary. Judges must be well paid for them to work well.”
Another SAN, Sylva Ogwemoh argued that it takes a lazy judge to condone a lazy lawyer.
He therefore suggested that judges salaries should be based on the volume of cases delivered.
Earlier in his key note address, the occasion’s chairman, Chief Lai Babatunde (SAN), represented by the Chairman, Ikeja Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Yinka Farounbi noted that the lecture was fundamental to the existence of Nigeria.
In her remark, the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Oluwafunmilayo Atilade maintained that journalism has over the years made impactful contributions to sustainable growth and human development in the society.
The CJ who was represented by the Deputy Chief Registrar (DCR) Legal, Mrs A.O Okunnuga said: “The theme of this year’s lecture, “Effective Justice System as a panacea for change” is apt and in tandem with our programmes and desire for growth and transformation in the state judiciary.
“Our various reforms and innovative programmes are geared towards advancing the course of justice and to ensure quick and effective dispensation of justice.
In his welcome address, Ikeja branch Chairman of NAJUC, Akinwale Akintunde noted that this year’s lecture series is designed towards providing, “Avenue for us all to take a critical look at the state of affairs of this nation, especially the judiciary sector and in the process identify those things which have the capacity about the desired change.”
According to Akintunde, the theme of this year’s lectures, “Effective Justice System as Panacea for Change” became imperative in view of the role the judiciary plays in the over all development of any nation, particularly now that the current administration of President MuhammaduBuhari is saddled with the task of repositioning government structures for effective and efficient performance in line with acceptable standards all over the world.
“We believe that the revolutionary change being advocated by President Buhari cannot be achieved without an effective justice system”, he stated.