The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, on Monday, swore in 21 lawyers in the rank Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) to usher in the 2015/2016 legal year.

The new senior advocates are Prof. Maxwell Gidado, Dr Tahir Mamman, Dr Akinpelu Onigbinde, Professor Paul Idornigie, Dr Oladapo Olanipekun, Dr Muiz Banire, Ibrahim Bawa, Samuel Zibiri and Aderibgbe Adedeji.

Others are Emmanuel Aguma, Emeka Etiaba, Abinbola Akeredolu, Olumuyiwa Akinboro, Gordy Uche, Uchechukwu Obi, Kehinde Eleja, Edward Ashiekaa, Joseph Bamigboye, Benson Nwankwo, Patrick Okolo and Adeniyi Adegbonmire.

Mohammed, while swearing in the new silks, urged them to avoid corrupt practices to promote service delivery and fair judgment.

He stressed the need for more result-oriented steps to substantially reduce the procedural clogs in Nigeria’s judicial system.

“The time has come for us all legal practitioners to be grounded in justice delivery, in seeking to uphold the rule of law, judicial reform and the end to corruption.

“There is, therefore, an urgent need to address the speed of justice dispensation and the backlog of cases pending in our various courts. Frivolous appeals should ideally not continue to clog our courts’ cause lists thereby causing undue delays and backlog,” he warned.

Mohammed added that justice was indeed the essential ingredient on which Nigeria was founded, the lack of which had sadly seen the nation `brought to its knees by impunity.’

He said that it was important for all legal practitioners to do justice as it was the best guarantor of peace, prosperity and good governance in Nigeria.

While listing achievements of the just-concluded 2014/2015 legal year, Mohammed said the Supreme Court handled 1,578 matters, consisting of 1,009 motions and 569 substantive appeals in the 2014/2015 legal year.

He said the court delivered 262 judgments during the year.

He added that the Supreme Court would introduce a system for the issuance of e-hearing notices to parties via e-mail, informing them of hearing of their matters in the new legal year.

Responding on behalf of the new SANs, Ashiekaa said the rank of SAN was most prestigious and dignifying.

While urging that the integrity of the judicial process be preserved for the common good, he advocated that appointments to the bench should not be used for political patronage.

“We appreciate the onerous and big responsibility placed on us. It is our responsibility to provide good and quality leadership at the bar, particularly to the young lawyers.

“In the years ahead, our lifestyles and actions will speak louder than words as we demonstrate the integrity, higher level of competence and diligence expected of us.

“We urge a more surplus assessment, merit-driven and diligent consideration of appointees to the bench,” he said.

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