The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, has said that the judiciary under his watch will strongly hold on to the tenets of the constitution as the supreme law of the land.
He said his administration will not tolerate the disobedience of binding court orders.
Mr Muhammad said this on Monday at the special session to mark the beginning of 2019 to 2020 legal year. The event also witnessed the swearing-in of 38 distinguished lawyers newly conferred with the honour of Senior Advocates of Nigeria.
The Nigerian government has been accused lately of disobeying the courts and choosing the orders it obeys.
Mr Muhammad said the rule of law which is the bastion of every democracy across the world will be strictly observed.
“The rule of law must be observed in all our dealings and we must impress it on the governments at all levels to actively toe the path.
“The right of every citizen against any form of oppression and impunity must be jealously guarded and protected with the legal tools at our disposal.
“All binding court orders must be obeyed.
“Nobody, irrespective of his or her position, will be allowed to toy with court judgments,” he said.
He called on all to collectively show the desired commitment to the full enthronement of the rule of law in Nigeria.
“As we all know, flagrant disobedience of court orders or non-compliance with judicial orders is a direct invitation to anarchy in the society.
“Such acts are completely antithetical to the rule of law in a democratic environment, and will not be tolerated under my watch as Chief Justice of Nigeria.
“We must work together to make Nigeria one of the frontline countries that observe the rule of law and rights of the citizens in all ramifications”.
He said that the judiciary under him is vigorously embracing technology to fast track it’s processes.
“We have automated our library with Liberty5 software, our classifications and catalogues are now done online.
“We have also subscribed to Westlaw which has content of over 6000 law books and journals, and access to the library will soon be made available to everyone that is entitled to browse,” the CJN said.
The CJN said that during 2018 to 2019 legal year, the Supreme Court entertained 1,874 cases of which 788 were civil, 262 criminal, and 65 political.
“Similarly, the court considered 759 appeals, comprising of 215 civil, 156 criminal and 388 political.
“A total of 324 judgments were delivered in the year: this scorecard is impressively fascinating.
“I attribute this tremendous success to the doggedness and team spirit exhibited by my brother justices and the general staff,” Mr Muhammad added.
He said the Supreme Court of Nigeria is the busiest and most hardworking Supreme Court in the world.
“It is on record that we work from Monday to Friday every week: on Wednesdays, we do Chamber sitting to consider noncontentious matters while we deliver judgments and rulings on Fridays”.
He urged the public to embrace Alternative Dispute Resolution to free the courts of unnecessary overstretching of their human and material resources.
“As rightly observed, Nigerians are the most litigious people on earth.
“In every little disagreement, we rush to court, in every lost case, we rush to appeal even up to the Supreme Court”, the CJN declared.
Among the new silks is the Solicitor-General of the Federation, Dayo Apata and Lagos-based human rights activist, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa.