Andrew Orolua, AbujaThe Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, has reaffirmed that the judiciary under his leadership remains committed to the ongoing fight against corruption and other social vices bedeviling the country.
To demonstrate the commitment, Justice Onnoghen said that judges and judicial officers shall perform their statutory functions in line with their oath of office and constitutional provisions.
Justice Onnoghen, who stated this on Wednesday at the 33 Annual Judges Conference of the Federal High Court in Abuja, pleaded for adequate funding of the judiciary to enable it cope with the mounting challenges.
The CJN, whose address was read by President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, specifically called for greater attention to the Federal High Court being one of the most strategic and significant arm of the judiciary.
He disclosed that the judges conference was an avenue for judges to appraise past events and prepare for fresh challenges and that a new reform that will enhance the performance of the judiciary will soon be unfolded by his office.
The CJN said that the National Judicial Council (NJC) has already embarked on transparent process to appoint ten new judges for the court for it to have full compliment of judges.
Justice Onnoghen praised the outgoing Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, for upholding and sustaining the tradition of the court rancor-free.
He expressed optimism that the incoming Chief Judge that will take over from Justice Auta will sustain the achievements of the court.
Earlier, in a welcome address, the outgoing Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, said this year’s conference was held in Abuja because of its importance to him, being the last one he is attending in his capacity as the Chief Judge of the court.
Justice Auta told the gathering that the tradition of moving the conference round the country was not jettisoned but for financial reason, and to afford him the opportunity of meeting his friends and well-wishers who ordinarily will not attend the conference outside Abuja.
“This year’s Judges Conference is a unique one to me as earlier stated as it will afford me the opportunity to bid you all farewell as I retire after a successful judicial career.
“My career in this court and my appointment as the Chief Judge has been roundly successful because of the caliber of people on the bench as well as the supporting staff”, he said.
Justice Auta used the occasion to thank the Chief Justice of Nigeria for his leadership qualities and for his love in particular to the Federal High Court.
He noted with joy that the CJN has not hidden his love for the Federal High Court since he assumed office as CJN and Chairman National Judicial Council.
Justice Auta appealed to judicial officers in the country and stakeholders in the judiciary sector to give their maximum support to the CJN to enable him carry the judiciary to its highest level of respect and independence.
The week-long conference is being attended by all judges in the 37 divisions of the Federal High Court across the country.