CJN warns judges against disrespect for court users
The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mahmud Mohammed, yesterday warned judges and other judicial officers against treating litigants with disrespect and disdain, saying a situation where judges treat court users with disdain is not acceptable.
Addressing newly appointed judges and khadis at an induction course organised for them by the National Judicial Institute in Abuja, Justice Mohammed called on judges to treat litigants and all court users with utmost courtesy and respect.
The CJN also warned judges not to allow their religious belief to influence the way they treat litigants. “The Nigerian judiciary is now more prepared and more poised than ever before to rid itself of all the dirt inflicted on her by unscrupulous, fraudulent and corrupt persons occupying judicial offices in Nigeria.”
He said the National Judicial Council and the respective states’ judicial service commissions have been adequately empowered to remove, with ignominy, any judicial officer or judicial staff that has chosen the path of dishonour to be corrupt and fraudulent.
“In the past, some judges regarded aloofness as adding to judicial authority and the mystique of the office. Those days are gone.
Everyone who comes before the court is entitled to be treated with courtesy and respect,” the CJN said. He urged judges not to allow their religious inclination to taint their judgment when handling cases, noting that the country is a multi- ethnic nation with diverse ethnicities, languages, religions and cultures.
“As you move from one judicial division to another, you must treat all court users with equal respect regardless of how different they are or how unpopular their cause may be.” In interpreting disputes bordering on customs, the CJN advised the judges not to allow their religious inclination to affect their decisions.
He said: “No matter how you feel about the religious implications of such alleged customs, so long as they comply with requisite legal and judicial tests prescribed, you must apply them in relevant cases.”
In her welcome address, the Administrator of the NJI, Justice Rosaline Bozimo (rtd) reminded the judges that their primary duty is to interpret the law “without bias, affection or ill will.”
She urged the judges to imbibe judicial values and to be epitome of morality, the bastion of the rule of law, the protector of the oppressed and the punisher of evil doers.”
Bomizo told the judges that members of the public were deeply interested in what they do as judges. “The country and its citizens expect a diligent and effective administration of justice from the Nigerian judiciary. We can not afford to fail them,” she said.