The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mahmud Mohammed, has accused some lawyers of giving a bad name to the judiciary through their numerous ways of obstructing the administration of justice.
Mohammed, while speaking on Monday at a special session to signal the commencement of the 2016/2017 legal year, stated that despite the numerous efforts being made to help speed up the administration of justice in the country, “certain members of the bar are conspicuous in utilising unethical, frivolous applications and appeals, multiplicity of actions in courts of coordinate jurisdiction and other acts of calumny to frustrate the speedy dispensation of justice.”
“While we all rush to rehash the age-old rhetoric that justice delayed is justice denied, the actions of our key stakeholders, particularly members of the bar have often proven to be far from the words,” he added
In evaluating the legal year, Mohammed, who is due to retire this year, said “this legal year has certainly been an eventful one. We have rowed against the proverbial tides and withstood the blistering winds and gale forces. I am proud to say that by the will of Almighty, I am leaving the Supreme Court in a better shape than I met it.”
The Chief justice admitted that the nation’s apex court is inundated with too many cases which stretches the limits of the system. According to him, 1,489 cases have been entertained this year alone and “during this period, we received about 10 new appeals per week, most of which were interlocutory in nature.”
Commendably, Mohammed disclosed that, to reduce the workload on the Supreme court, steps are being taken to encourage appeals to go through the alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation. “We have taken the historic step towards the expansion of the single track of justice delivery in the court by allowing for appeals to be mediated where the parties and issues permit.”
He praised the various judges and other judicial officers for their commitment in enhancing the administration of justice while stating that the “court has witnessed numerous improvements both in terms of physical infrastructure and statutory functioning that will no doubt put us on the cusp of greater accomplishments.”