The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Mahmud Mohammed, has charged the newly sworn-in justices of the Supreme Court to be diligent in the discharge of their duties.
“Your lordships are coming into the Supreme Court at a time when there are a lot of challenges. And I believe that having successfully scaled the constitutional and institutional requirements, you are no doubt ready to face these challenges head on,” Mahmud said, during the swearing-in of Justice Amina A. Augie and Justice Ejembi Eko.
He noted that more than ever, it is important to be firm, honest and steadfast in the performance of their responsibilities.
“A common thread that runs through all judiciaries is that officers are traditionally accorded the highest dignity and respect by all. This is because justice is rooted in confidence. And where confidence in our judges is undermined and independence is eroded, the nation ultimately suffers,” he added.
The CJN said decision of the National Judicial Council (NJC) reflects the desire of the judiciary to preserve its independence, hence its proclamation that any officer standing trial should not perform legal functions.
He explained that the NJC took the stand following communications it received from the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, that he was embarking on prosecution of the affected judges for offences disclosed against them based on available evidence.
He urged the new justices not to forget that the nation operates a constitutional democracy, which clearly prescribes power accorded to each organ of the state.
“I wish to state without fear of contradiction that the third arm of government will remain resolute in its commitment and resolve, to uphold its independence and adjudicate with utmost fairness and justice, as prescribed in the constitution,” he said.