The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has said that the judiciary will be held as accomplices to the nation’s malaise if it fails to uphold the rule of law.
The President of the NBA, Yakubu Maikyau (SAN), made the assertion yesterday at the official opening of the New Legal Year 2023/2024 of the FCT High Court in Abuja.
Maikyau, who was represented by the second vice president of the association, Clement Chukwuemeka Ugo, said the judiciary must exhibit why it is the third arm of government and not the appendage of the executive.
He said the enormous power given to the judiciary was akin to those God gave to man after creation.
“May I remind some judges and some legal practitioners at this point that we are the reason for the economic hardship in Nigeria, we are responsible for the disappearance of investors, we are responsible for the bad roads and high rate of kidnapping on our major roads and towns, above all we are accomplices’ to the non-adherence to the rule of law by the other arms of government in total disobedience as instructed by God in 2nd Chronicle 19 vs 4-7.”
The NBA also bemoaned the welfare and working conditions of judicial officers in Nigeria, saying it is among the poorest in the world.
Earlier, the Chief Judge of the FCT High Court, Justice Husseini Baba Yusuf, said the judiciary has both the legal and moral obligation to provide quality legal services to the public as provided by the constitution.
Justice Yusuf said the court introduced the e-affidavit and e-filing systems in its effort to digitise the court processes for greater transparency, accountability, efficiency and effectiveness.
The chief judge said in the 2022/2023 Legal Year, the court assigned 5,952 new cases, consisting of both civil and criminal matters, while the magistrate courts received 7,354 filings of both civil and criminal cases.
He said that out of the figures, the FCT High Court successfully determined 4,293 cases, consisting of both civil and criminal matters, which is a 62.4 per cent completion rate while the magistrate courts successfully determined 7, 328 cases of both civil and criminal matters, which is a completion rate of 90 per cent.