The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mahmud Mohammed, Wednesday, lamented that the judiciary has been overburdened by political matters.
He said this at a Public Dialogue on the Future of Justice Administration in Nigeria, organised at the National Judicial Institute, by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
According to him, the CJN said that the country was struggling “to provide an efficient, fair and effective justice system that would be able to ensure that everyone, regardless of station or status, can access quality justice that is administered quickly.
“The current reality paints a sobering picture. The number of cases pending before the courts has reached critical proportions and we must use all appropriate means to stop it from spiralling out of control.
“If one considers the number of cases pending in high courts and other courts of record, you will agree with me that the situation is indeed disturbing and sobering.”
Vanguard reports that there are currently more than six separate suits before the Federal High Court in Abuja, challenging the eligibility of the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Muhammadu Buhari, with most of the cases seeking similar reliefs. A similar suit was lodged before the high court yesterday by Dr Ayakeme Whiskey, who is seeking an order declaring Buhari ineligible to contest the February 14 election.
Welcoming participants to the public dialogue, the National President of the NBA, Augustine Alegeh (SAN), said that the dialogue was borne out of the neglect which the justice system had suffered over time.
“I strongly believe that the best way to promote rule of law, check impunity and abuse of human right is to overhaul the justice system by reforming archaic substantive and procedural criminal laws”, he added.
According to him, if the country’s economy will develop, the justice system must be restructured and strengthened. He stressed that an inefficient criminal justice system is a major disincentive to commerce and free flow of investment.
“The absence, effective and timely remedies discourages investors from taking risk of investing their resources in an economy where such investments are urgently required, the justice system must be such that is primed to guarantee a secured and safe society where its citizens can exercise their fundamental rights, where investor do their business, where law enforcement agencies can carry out their lawful duties, and where post trial institutions (prison) can be said to be operating within the expectations of the society,” Alegeh noted.