- As Justice Bozimo harps on best practices
The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, has advised newly appointed magistrates nationwide to shun corruption and eschew attitudes that could lead to delay in justice delivery.
Onnoghen who spoke at the opening ceremony of a three-day intensive training organised for the magistrates by the National Judicial Institute (NJI) also said that the judicial officers have a key role to play in promoting judicial excellence in the administration of justice in Nigeria.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria was however represented at the occasion by a Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Akahs.
In a speech prepared by the CJN but read by Justice Akahs, Justice Onnoghen said: “As you may be aware, this course not only serves as a forum to induct you into the Magistracy but it also serves as a forum to provide you with basic information and knowledge that will enable you align with your new position and responsibilities as well as the effective discharge of your duties as Magistrates.
“It is in this regard that the theme of this course “Promoting Judicial Excellence in the Administration of Justice” is most appropriate.
“It is also topical and captures the need for an effective and efficient justice delivery system hinged on judicial reforms and excellence.
“Achieving these qualities require a collective and concerted efforts at improving the performance of our adjudicatory responsibilities.
“It is our collective responsibility to ensure that the Nigerian judiciary remains vibrant, dynamic, independent and strong.
“Your role, distinguished participants, in ensuring an independent and strong judiciary cannot be over-emphasised as you handle/undertake substantial number of cases at the grassroots level
“The Magistrates’ Courts are the first and often the only point of contact that some members of the public will have with the judicial system and for this reason and many others, your courts can aptly be referred to as the “Peoples court”
“The Nigerian judiciary has been faced with a lot of challenges prominent among them is the delay in the administration of justice which has been in the front burner of several discourse.
“To overcome these challenges responsible for the delay in the administration of justice, it behoves on each and every one of us to be disciplined, focussed and innovative in the performance of our duties as ministers in the Temple of Justice.
“You must embrace global best practices directed towards speedy dispensation of justice such as the use of Alternative Dispute resolution (ADR) and other case management techniques in handling cases in your courts.
“Let me also urge you to avoid unnecessary adjournments and improve the quality of justice delivery in your courts through the use of information and Communication Technology.
“You will be expected to discharge your duties with competence, fairness, transparency, integrity and with a great sense of responsibility.
“ You must shun corruption and lead by examples. You must adhere strictly to judicial ethics and Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers which is applicable to the Magistrates.
“I have no doubt that the topics slated for discussion during this Orientation Course will be impactful as they have been carefully chosen in addition to providing you with the right information and knowledge you need to excel in your new position as Magistrate,” he added.
Earlier, the Administrator of the National Judicial Institute, Justice Rosaline Bozimo had advised the newly appointed magistrates to imbibe best practices that would ensure smarter and better ways of dispensing justice.
She also assured them that the training they were undergong would play a big role in preparing for the task ahead.
Her words: “The objective of this orientation course amongst others is to acquaint you with the task ahead as newly appointed magistrates. There is no gainsaying that the Magistrates Courts occupy an important position in the administration of justice as they handle substantial number of cases at the grassroots.
“The theme for this year’s course “Promoting Judicial Excellence is most appropriate and in tune with the current drive by the Nigerian judiciary in attaining excellence in the discharge of its statutory responsibilities through innovative approach in the administration of justice.
“It is also heart-warming to note that the Nigerian judiciary is taking giant strides at judicial reforms and it is therefore your responsibility to align with this current drive.
“Let us all appreciate the fact that an effective administration of justice is a cornerstone of good governance which in turn is a requisite for development. We must imbibe the best practices that ensure smarter and better ways of dispensing justice.
“I urge your worships to pay rapt attention and make useful contributions in all the deliberations during this workshop,” she added.