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Osinbajo charges Onnoghen to restore confidence in judiciary

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Justice Walter Onnoghen shortly being sworn in as the Chief Justice of Nigeria at State House, Abuja on Tuesday, March 7, 2017. PHOTO: TWITTER/PRESIDENCY

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has sworn-in the new Chief Justice of the Federation (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, with a call on him to restore confidence in the judiciary.

At a brief ceremony in the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday, Osinbajo also honoured Onnoghen with the award of Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON).

The acting President said since individuals were not forced to become judges, they would be held to a much higher moral and ethical standard than others.

“The mere perception of judicial malfeasance poisons the waters of justice, let alone the reality, while delays in the administration of justice often defeat the ends of justice.

“My Lord, you assumed this position at a crucial time in the history of our nation.

“It is a time when all arms of government have suffered loss of confidence on the people of this nation and it is so also with our judiciary.

“It is a time, when, my Lord and justices of our courts are called upon to resuscitate that confidence that the people of this nation want to have in the institutions of government and indeed in the judiciary.

“I pray that your tenure will revive and sustain that confidence.’’

Osinbajo expressed the belief that the choice of CJN that Nigerians had made was the right one. He also expressed the hope that Onnoghen would live up to the expectations of the high office and prayed God to guide and direct him to deliver on the promises and expectations of Nigerians.

The acting President conveyed the “personal warm wishes and congratulations’’ of President Muhammadu Buhari to the CJN and also congratulated members of his family, as well and the entire judicial system.

In his vote of assurance, Onnoghen recalled that he had earlier been sworn-in as Acting CJN. He said being made a substantive CJN was the climax of that event.

Onnoghen, therefore, promised to keep to the oath of the office and called on the three arms of government to explore areas of cooperation to move the country forward. Onnoghen noted that the key to progress and every positive achievement in any democratic setting was adherence to the rule of law.

“Here lies the solution to our problems to attain one fundamental principle and that is the independence of the judiciary. Let us strive to maintain the independence of the judiciary so as to ensure the rule of law.

“With the rule of law, when everybody realises that they are subject to the rule of law and that there are certain things that are taboos and are adhered to accordingly, it will be to the benefit of everyone of us,’’ he said.

The CJN thanked the Senate and Nigerians of all religions, who had kept the faith in the country and had prayed for its sustenance.

He, therefore, urged them not to relent in their prayers for the country and the judiciary. Onnoghen further called for the cooperation of all to enable him to succeed.

In an interview, Senate President Bukola Saraki, said he expected to see the independence of the judiciary with reforms in the system as well. Saraki said with time on the side of the CJN and commitment to the pledge he made, he would perform creditably.

The senate president added that many former CJNs had short stay in office, but Onnoghen, who is expected to last up to four years, would have no excuse to not perform and reform the system.

He said while being screened, Onnoghen addressed the issue of perception, corruption, due process and other critical issues. “I am confident that he will deliver,’’ Saraki stated.

He said the senate would cooperate with the judiciary to engender constitutional reviews that would assist the CJN in addressing issues in the justice system.



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