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Don’t be intimidated in your courts, CJN tells judges

The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, on Wednesday, asked judges of the Federal High Court not to take their appointments for granted.…

The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, on Wednesday, asked judges of the Federal High Court not to take their appointments for granted.

Justice Ariwoola, who made the statement while declaring open the 39th Annual FHC Judges’ Conference and the FHC’s 50th Anniversary Lectures in Abuja, asked them to work harder and not allow themselves to be intimidated.

He also urged them not to hesitate to consult their books to come up with the best judgments, rather than seeking to impress people. This, he said, would reduce the frequency of having their judgments overturned by the Appeal Court.

He stated, “Anyone lucky to be appointed to this court, without mincing words, is indeed very lucky and should not take that for granted.

We’re far below where we should be – Health Minister

We’re far below where we should be – Health Minister

“I implore you all to please continue to work very hard; work hard and harder and go the extra mile each time. Do not assume that what then are the gentlemen at the appellate court doing. No, let that (appellate) court affirm your decisions.

“Always write your judgments so that the appellate court will have no choice but to affirm your decisions. Don’t leave any loophole.”

According to CJN, being a judge, especially in lower courts, is serious business, particularly in courtrooms where judges don’t sit as a panel.

He added, “You sit all alone, you are the lord of the court. Please, always go the extra mile, even in what you consider a simple application.

“It is your court. You are not there to impress anyone at all. If you need to take a break to consult your note or your books before you rule, no application by counsel is simple.

“Make relevant consultations and come to give your ruling.”

Ariwoola, who said judges should not feel threatened if lawyers decided to go on appeal, stated, “An appeal is an entitlement, and that is what the Appeal Court is there for.”

The CJN, who described the Federal High Court as the largest court in Nigeria, said it was the best of the courts of trial.

“The jurisdiction of the court keeps expanding. It is the only court that has originating jurisdiction on electoral matters,” he said.

He noted that though the Federal High Court was not the only federal court, it was, however, the best of the federal courts.

He expressed optimism that the judges would gain a lot from the wealth of experience of the speakers at the conference.

Earlier, the Chief Judge of the FHC, Justice John Tsoho, said it had been the practice of the court from inception for judges of the court to meet annually to appraise the activities of the previous year, with a view to finding solutions to identified problems.

He added, “The object of this conference, therefore, is to critically discuss any issues confronting us as a court and seek remedies to them.

“We will also be addressed by practitioners in different fields of knowledge and learning, which will help us to continue to have a grip on our health and intellectual competence.”

He said the FHC would always seek ways of enhancing justice delivery in the country.

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