Abuja- The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mahmud Mohammed, on Thursday in Abuja, urged justices of the Court of Appeal to steer clear of conflicting judgments and political associations.
Justice Mohammed gave the charge while declaring open the 2014 Annual Conference for Justices of the Court of Appeal, held at the Court of Appeal headquarters, Abuja.
According to the CJN, the judiciary has been confronted with accusations of conflicting decisions delivered by Court of Appeal, particularly in seemingly straightforward issues.
He said “conflicting judgments of various divisions of Court of Appeal are not only undesirable but the result may manifest in miscarriage of justice and ultimately loss of public confidence in the judiciary.
“Conflicting judgments also lead to accusations of improper considerations and corrupt practices.
“I must, therefore, remind us of the need to steer clear of conflicting judgments which have corrosive effects on the judiciary and its estimation in the eyes of the public.’’
The chief justice said this was necessary, considering the central role of the judiciary to the survival and sustenance of democracy and preparations ahead of the 2015 general elections.
The CJN reminded the conference participants that the courts would once again be called upon to adjudicate on electoral disputes and the public would criticise judges if they played into politicians’ hands.
He added that “it is immaterial whether or not the assessment is fair.
“For us as judges, we must be seen to rise above the tide of systemic corruption and other unfortunate afflictions that have become commonplace in Nigeria today.’’
The President of Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, in her welcome address, identified poor financing and low budget as major impediments to the court’s smooth operations.
Bulkachuwa said that in spite of the increase in the number of divisions of the court and the appointment of additional 25 justices, there was no increase in the courts’ 2014 budget.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the CJN, Bulkachuwa and Vice-President of Court of Appeal, UK, Sir Maurice Kay and Dr Andrew Pocock, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria attended the conference. (NAN)