The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, has decried the increasing rate of crimes and hardship in the country, saying the nation is in perilous times.
The CJN, who stated this on Monday during the inauguration of 62 new Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) in Abuja, noted that the crime wave has brought more cases to the courts.
“The times we are in are perilous. All hands must be on deck to make the best out of the unpleasant situation.
“The rate of high-calibre crimes in the land is increasing by the day. Never in the history of Nigeria have we experienced such before.
“Security of lives and property can no longer be guaranteed and as this is happening, so are cases streaming freely into the courts for adjudication,” he said.
He urged the new members of the Inner bar to stand up to the challenges staring the judiciary in the face.
“If the judiciary fails, there will certainly be no country to call Nigeria.
“Always remember that the moment the food in the clean bowl is finished, the status of the bowl changes to ‘dirty’. Don’t allow anybody to use and dump you,” he said.
The CJN also advocated the financial independence of the judiciary.
In his address, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, assured judicial officers that better days lie ahead for them as the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has given the directive to implement their salary increase.
He said the government, in line with its commitment to the rule of law, has accorded top priority to the funding of the judiciary.
According to him, the government has ensured a “progressive budgetary allocation to the judiciary which has seen an increase from N73billion in 2015 to over N130bn in 2022. A further increased sum of N150billion has been proposed for 2023.”
In his speech, the chairman of Body of Benchers, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), called for a reduction in the number of political matters that get to the courts.