By Vivian Okejeme, Abuja
The Chief Justices of Nigeria CJN, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola Wednesday, reiterated the fact that Nigeria continuously ranks among the most litigious countries in the world.
The CJN stated that the country’s judiciary was not at pleasant times due to continued rise in cases pending before various courts.
To address the trend, the CJN canvassed that Nigerians should begin to imbibe the culture of less litigation and more of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms so that courts can be freed of unnecessary burden and depletion of both human and material resources.
Justice Ariwoola spoke at the Supreme Court while inaugurating the nine newly appointed Justices of the Court of Appeal.
Giving reasons for the continued rise in court cases, the CJN said that several novel crimes are being committed in the country that have now made litigations to go on a steady rise.
According to him, “Political cases, especially, are taking a monumental toll on our dockets. Indeed, the times we are in are not pleasant, to say the least.
“No court in the land is spared of this. We are constantly on our toes and the dockets are ever rising in response to the challenges of the time.
“This underscores the undisputed fact that Nigeria continuously ranks among the most litigious countries in the world.
“I strongly believe it is high time we began to imbibe the culture of less litigation and more of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms so that our courts can be freed of unnecessary burden and depletion of both human and material resources.
“However, the onus squarely rests on your Lordships to fasten your belt and roll up your sleeves to face the challenges head-on.
“You must redouble your pace to catch up with the expectations of the litigants. As judicial officers, you have a divine mandate on earth that you must discharge with unveiled honesty and sincerity.
“You must give good account of yourselves to justify your elevation to the Court of Appeal so that you can subsequently earn an elevation to the Supreme Court to further actualize your dreams.
The CJN warned the new Appeal Court Justices to avoid running foul of the law by running away from all forms of corruption and temptations.
He reminded them that the oath administered on them to assume office as Justices of the Court of Appeal is a solemn pledge and commitment to good conduct in the course of their adjudication, especially as senior judicial officers in the appellate court.
“We are not here for long speeches but simply to realign your minds with what is expected of you at this very high and enviable level of adjudication.
“Many high profile cases would definitely come to you on appeal; and they may likely come in some juicy and irresistible gifts that are often intended to dent your reputation and integrity.
“I admonish Your Lordships to flee from such disguised temptations because your reputation and integrity matter much and count enormously in your rise to honour and fame in life.”