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Acting CJ seeks more judges, says 116,623 cases of 2018 pending

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Some judges after a devotional worship session to mark the new legal year in Abuja…yesterday. PHOTO: LUCY LADIDI ATEKO<br />

Acting Chief Justice of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho, has demanded the appointment of more judges to ease the excessive workload on judicial officers.

Speaking yesterday at the commencement of the Federal High Court 2019/2020 Legal Year, Justice Tsoho expressed concern that there was no provision for appointment of judges in the 2019 budget.

He, however, pledged to discuss the issue with the relevant authorities to see the possibility of recruiting more judicial officers during the year.

He also commended his learned colleagues for the efficient manner in which they handled election matters, urging them to uphold the nation’s constitution for Nigeria’s unity.

Earlier, he pledged to work harmoniously with the executive and legislature to entrench constitutionalism as the court of the first instance in the judiciary.

Justice Tsoho, who was hosting the event for the first time since he assumed office as Acting Chief Judge, assured that his tenure would pay close attention to efficient and effective administration of justice and welfare of judicial officers.

“This administration will give prompt and just attention to all forms of alleged discrimination and uneven treatment of members of staff matters.

“Attention would be paid to the efficient and effective administration of justice and welfare of judicial officers, as well as the supporting staff of this court.

“I will attempt to see that I do even more for the staff, particularly those who have shown dedication and hard work,” he said.

On the status of litigation in the last legal year, Justice Tsoho informed that 116,623 cases were pending in the Federal High Court, adding that 16,144 cases were filed in the current quarter of which 12,692 have been treated.

Also speaking, the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) tasked the Federal High Court on splitting of the court into specialised divisions.

Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), who spoke on behalf of the body, noted that the era of general jurisdiction in one judge was over.

The body anchored their demand on the grounds that specialised division of the federal court would lead to increased productivity and “reduce the much talked about delay in the administration of justice arising from unnecessary workload.”

While assessing public perception of the Nigerian judiciary, they noted that public perception of the judiciary as reflected in a recently published public poll was far from inspiring.

“Justice as we know it is rooted in confidence and there is urgent need to build confidence in the judiciary, as the last hope of the common man,” Awomolo stated.

On its part, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Bwari Branch, Abuja, stated that the principle of rule of law had vanished from the judiciary.

In a goodwill message, Chairman, Bwari Branch of NBA, Clement Chukwuemeka, accused the executive arm of the government of hijacking the courts.

“We must reiterate here that the rule of law has evaporated in some of our courts. Some courts, especially the Federal High Court, has been hijacked by agents of the executive. The courts are being used to legalise illegalities,” he stated.


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