Chief Justice seeks a balanced judiciary
• Imo ex-CJ blames prosecution for delay of cases in court
The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed has said that, given the increased complexity of disputes in the country, the judiciary must do more to strike a balance between chaos and order in society.
Mohammed counseled judicial officers at the 2016 annual general conference of the Magistrates Association of Nigeria, which began in Port Harcourt, Rivers State yesterday.
The CJN, who was represented by Justice Inyang Okoro of the Supreme Court, said the 21st-century judicial officer is faced with a bigger caseload than in previous decades; in addition to the ever-present clamour for a quick, affordable and efficient dispensation of justice.
“Given the increased complexity of disputes in our country, the judicial is more adept to keep the balance between chaos and order. How we maintain this balance will determine our credibility, our integrity and indeed our posterity. We must rise to the task,” he said.
He acknowledged that the magistracy has in recent times find new ways of delivering justice swiftly and effectively despite various challenges.
According to him, majority of the criminal and civil cases are heard by the magistrate courts, which he described as the face of the justice in the country.
However, former Chief Justice of Imo State, Justice Benjamin Njemanze, has blamed shoddy prosecution of corruption cases by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other prosecutors for the delay in the speedy dispensation of justice.
Njemanze chided the anti-corruption agencies that it was preposterous for any anti-corruption agency to charge a suspect on one hundred-count charge, instead of one charge that can be substantiated with evidence for speedy prosecution.
“Why should you bring 100 charges, when you can bring one charge. If you bring 100 charges against a suspect, it means you are still fishing and you are not sure of your facts,” he said.
To ensure a speedy dispensation of corruption cases, he suggested that suspects should be charged to magistrate courts instead since they are established to speedily dispense cases.
On his part, the Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike said magistrates constitute the bedrock of the nation’s judicial system, where the majority of the citizens first come into contact with the nature and predispositions of the nation’s judicial system.