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CJN urges against unnecessary filing of cases

By Oludare Richards, Abuja   |   20 June 2017   |   4:16 am

Justice Walter Onnoghen


Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen has advised Nigerians to always employ other avenues of dispute resolution before rushing to the court, to save parties and judges a lot of resources and energy that should be channeled into something more rewarding.

Onnoghen, who lamented that a lot of cases at the Supreme Court ought not to have been in court in the first place, advised lawyers to cultivate the habit of giving good and right counsel to their clients at all times.

The CJN stated this in Abuja when members of the Business Recovery and Insolvency Practitioners of Nigeria (BRIPAN) visited him to solicit the support of the judiciary in promoting the practice of insolvency and restructuring in the country.

“When there is a breach rather than the parties going for arbitration, the lawyer of the company rush to court,” he said. “Nigeria’s Supreme Court is the only one that sits every day of the week. Last week alone, we delivered 22 judgments,” he noted.

According to him, this development results to a situation where the courts are then filled with lots of cases, with some of them dragging for years until it gets to the Supreme Court after a lot of resources including precious court time would have been wasted.

He appreciated BRIPAN for the visit, noting that interaction such as this, coupled with the proposed training for judges would provide better understanding, keep the judges abreast with development in the area as well as enhancement of speedy dispensation of dispute relating to insolvency matters.

While stressing the need to create conducive environment that would enhance growth of businesses and the economy, he assured BRIPAN of the judiciary’s cooperation in tackling their challenges. He directed the association to liaise with the National Judicial Institute (NJI) on training for judges particularly those in the High and Appeal Courts.

Earlier, President and Chairman of Council of BRIPAN, Sola Oyetayo, told the CJN that the principal focus of modern insolvency legislation is no longer the liquidation and elimination of insolvent entities but the remodeling of the financial and organizational structure of debtors experiencing financial distress so as to permit the rehabilitation and continuation of their business.

According to Oyetayo, insolvency should not be criminalized but rather be seen as a State of sickness that needs right attention to be healthy again. He disclosed that in other climes modern insolvency laws have favoured the alternative debt resolution mechanisms that would save the business -and by extension the company, rather than kill it.

While stating that Nigeria currently lacks effective law on insolvency, he maintained that the court has a critical role to play particularly in the speedy dispensation of insolvency cases.

He added that BRIPAN has already submitted a draft bill in the National Assembly that tends to shift focus from liquidation of ailing companies to their survival and ultimate flourishing.

BRIPAN is of the position that if the drive for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) must yield desired results, then much attention be paid to the principle and practice of insolvency, as investors would always want to be sure of what will likely happen to their investment if and when they decide to exit.

To this end, BRIPAN says it wants to partner with the judiciary in increasing awareness and help in the development of the practice of insolvency and restructuring.
Part of the partnership include, training for judges of various cadre of the Nigerian judiciary.

A NEW organisation. Igbo Presidency Group 2019, has emerged to “reason with all stakeholders and the political parties on the need for the presidency to be zoned by to the South East geo-political region.”

Mr. Tagbo Obidiaso, a lawyer, is its National Coordinator while Austin Milado and Ejike Asiegbu, are Co-Coordinators.In a statement, it said: “The motive is in response to the dangerous agitations ongoing in the country that are threatening the unity of our great nation. The Igbos, clearly, have been politically marginalised, taking into consideration the fact that the foundation of the nation was built on a tripod, with respect to other minority ethnic groups.

“For this reason our constitution was founded on the principles of freedom, equality and justice, and for the purpose of consolidating the unity of our people. This informed the inclusion of the Federal Character Commission in the Constitution, but 48 years after the civil war, which was declared no victor no vanquished, no Igbo, a major ethnic group, has been the president of this country.”

The pressure group added: “We believe totally in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. And we believe totally that every component of the country should be seen and be made to feel as a part of the entity.We want to use this opportunity to call on our Northern and Southern brothers and sisters to join hands with us in reinventing our great nation into one big family where everyone is happy and united. The group will do every thing within the ambit of the law to achieve its purpose.”


In this article:
Walter Onnoghen


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