CJN to Tinubu: We Won’t Disappoint You on Judicial Procedures

July 3, 2024

Chief Justice of Nigeria, Olukayode Ariwoola, on Wednesday, assured President Bola Tinubu that the bench will not disappoint his administration on judicial processes.

He pleaded with the president that all the judiciary needed, was for it to be left to function to perform its role unhindered.

The CJN said this during the groundbreaking ceremony of the construction of a N37 billion Abuja Division of Appeal Court Complex at Daki-biyu, Abuja.

Ariwoola, who posited that a care for the Judiciary was a care for justice, promised to ensure that the edifice was well utilized upon completion.

He lauded the numerous support the judiciary had received under the present Renewed Hope Agenda, and like Oliver Twist, solicited that members of the Supreme Court be equally considered.

The CJN said: “What we are having is a great thing. We’ve gotten the division of the Court in Abuja to manage the small space they occupy. Now you have 10 Courtrooms and Offices in a five-storey building.

“On behalf of the judiciary, the honourable minister of the FCT, we thank you very much, we appreciate you for this that you are doing. You’ve just told the whole world, that not only the Court of Appeal will benefit from your legacy, but also the heads of various courts and the other courts.

“I understand you had mentioned that not even the apex court will be forgotten. My board of justices of the Supreme Court are not here, but they said I should pass it on to the honourable minister of the FCT, that we don’t have another place to go to other than the FCT. So, we believe that your administration and the administration of your boss, the head of government, will not forget about the apex court in the legacy being given to the judiciary.

“We appreciate Mr. President, and with through, the Attorney General, and yourself as the FCT Minister, to convey our sincere appreciation and gratitude to Mr. President for all the things he has been doing and for the promises, we shall not disappoint, we shall not let you down.

“All the judiciary needs, is to be left to function to perform its role unhindered, as much as possible, like the President of the Bar said, once you take care of the judiciary, you’ve taken care of justice. If you cry for peace anywhere in the world without justice, that can be no peace. We guarantee peace, we promise to ensure that peace is given to whoever is due so that we can all enjoy peace. Justice is important and imperative. We promise we will always give justice.

“The effort given today, for breaking the ground for the construction of these airy feasts of five floors of the division, the headquarters remains the headquarters, the division of the court of the appeal does not have to be part of the headquarters, and that is what has happened. We will use it well; we assure the minister. The FCT court is also yearning for the accommodation of its courts, not only for the Magistrates, the courts too need courtrooms and chambers.”

Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT), Nyesom Wike, said President Bola Tinubu attached so much importance to the welfare of judiciary staff towards institutionalizing justice across the country.

Wike, who stressed the need for the judiciary to be properly transformed to enhance the sector, said President Tinubu has graciously approved N30 billion out of the N37 billion in the 2024 budget and promised to deliver the edifice by September 2025 legal year.

The FCT minister also used the medium to clarify that no area council chairmen had power over any land in Abuja.

Wike said: “I can say this with authority, when this memo came to FCT, I thought it was president, immediately I was asked to present the memo, and the first thing from his mouth was approved, so that tells you the importance of the issues of judiciary.

“But of all, we must thank Mr. President, when the president of the Court of Appeal came last year during their legal year, you know sometimes when you make a request and you see a politician accepts, most of them don’t agree but knowing that the president we have and his commitment I know it will come to reality.

“When I told the president, and he asked why you need to wait, after all, it is the FCT that rehabilitated the National Assembly phase 1, it is FCT that rehabilitated the National Assembly phase 2, which is an arm of government, so why are you not going to do this for this part of the government.

“I want to commend Mr. President and that is the essence of the Renewed Hope Agenda because a lot of people have lost hope, they are things that must be done if you want to get it right, and one of the things that must be done for this country is to put justiciary where they are supposed to be.

“I will not be part of any projects of this nature that will take 2 years I will not be part of, this is one project that I have seen that is well covered in the budget, this project will cost us 37, billion naira but in the budget, Mr President has provided 30, billion Naira”.

The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Olasunkanmi Fagbemi, expressed concern that the judiciary which used to be the hope of the common man, had become a thing that only the rich could afford.

Fagbemi said the complex would be a place where truth prevailed and the rights of the people protected.

President of Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, who commended Wike for starting what he promised, said the edifice would facilitate a smoother dispensation of justice in Nigeria, pointing out that injustice anywhere was a threat to justice anywhere in the world.

Earlier, the President of the Nigeria Bar Association, Yakubu Maikyau, expressed gratitude to Tinubu and Wike for beginning the complex they had been expecting, 48 years after the creation of FCT, with 16 past ministers that never looked in their direction.

Maikyau who thought that a people could exist without religion, but could not exist without justice, urged court justices to be like eagles and stay focused in administering justice to the citizens.

The high point of the event was the presentation of C of O of the allocated land for the court complex to the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Dongban-Mensem.