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New CJN Opens Up on Cash-trapped Judiciary

Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Olukayode Ariwoola, yesterday, told senators that that there was no crisis among justices of the Supreme Court, The Sun reports.

He made the clarification while responding to questions from lawmakers during his screening by the Senate.

He spoke against the backdrop of insinuations from a leaked memo tied to the immediate-past CJN, Mohammed Tanko, of disaffection among judges in the apex court.

Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo – Agege, Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Opeyemi Bamidele and others had expressed concerns on the alleged petition written to retired Justice Tanko by 15 justices of the Supreme Court in June, saying Nigerians were worried by the content.

But Ariwoola in his response said: “Justices of the Supreme Court didn’t write petition to or against Justice Mohammed Tanko as CJN few months back, but memo where issues relating to welfare of each of the justices and unconducive working environment of justices at the Supreme Court generally were raised .

“We the justices were embarrassed when we read the content of our memo in the papers; it was never intended to be for public consumption since the motive behind the memo was not to fight or bring down anybody. When the hand written memo was signed by all the justices, we didn’t allow anybody to see it , making its leakage to the media to be like a miracle to us.”

He, however, said most of the issues raised in the memo were still not attended to due to paucity of funds.

“Some of the justices appointed in 2020 , have not gotten official accommodation , making them to be coming to office from Satellite towns within the FCT. The judiciary of Nigeria must be properly funded , we should not beg for our entitlements. More justices need to be appointed as out of 21 needed in the Supreme Court, only 13 are left.

“And for expeditious consideration of cases , some of the cases should be allowed to stop at the Court of Appeal through constitution amendment to that effect .The National Assembly should please help in this regard by carrying out required constitution amendments needed.”

On the delay in justice administration, Ariwoola, said as justice delayed is seen as justice denied, so is justice rushed also justice denied.

He said  the wheel of justice may be slow, but as long as it is steady, it will always be served on those who deserved it.

He said the appointment of judicial officers was different from dancing to traditional tunes, as it took a lawyer to be at the bar for a minimum of 10 years before securing any appointment as a judge of a state or Federal High Court and a minimum of 15 years for appointment at the Court of Appeal.


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