THE Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Kayode Ariwoola, today, swore in nine Justices of the Court of Appeal.
Ariwoola, while administering the oath of office to the new judges, said, ”The level of public scrutiny of your conduct will, henceforth, assume astronomical dimension because you have willingly taken up an appointment that will strategically place you perennially in the eye of the storm.
“You must redouble your effort and dialogue properly with your conscience in order not to fall out of the grace of the Almighty God and the Nigerian people who are curiously looking up to you.
“It takes nothing to join the crowd, but it takes a lot to stand alone with good conscience,’’ he admonished.
He said the ceremony indicated the times Nigeria is currently in as several novel crimes are being committed have now made litigations steadily rise.
“Political cases, especially, are taking a monumental toll on our dockets; indeed, the times we are in are not pleasant, to say the least.
“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,” the CJN said.
He said the onus squarely rests on the Lordships to fasten their belt and roll up their sleeves to face the challenges head-on.
The CJN charged them to redouble their pace to catch up with the expectations of the litigants.
“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 urge Your Lordships to flee from disguised temptations because your reputation and integrity matter much and count enormously in your rise to honour and fame,” Mr Ariwoola said.
The new appellate court justices are Hannatu Azumi Laja-Balogun from Kaduna State, who was appointed a High Court Judge on May 24, 1999, and Binta Fatima Zubairu from Kaduna State, appointed a High Court Judge on October 31, 2001.
Others are Peter Obiora from Anambra, sworn in as High Court judge on January 17, 2005, and Justice Okon Abang from Akwa Ibom, appointed a High Court Judge on June 22, 2009.
Others are Asma’u Musa Mainoma from the Federal Capital Territory, appointed High Court judge on February 1, 2013; Lateef Adebayo Ganiyu from Oyo State, who became High Court Judge on June 26, 2014; and Jane Esienanwan Iyang from Cross River State, who was sworn-in as High Court Judge on February 12, 2015.
The rest are Hadiza Rabiu Shagari from Sokoto State, elevated to the High Court Bench on February 12, 2015, and Paul Ahmed Bassi from Borno State, appointed to the High Court on July 14, 2017.