By Atevure Kennedy,
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammad, has expressed concerns over what he described as delay in Nigeria’s justice delivery system.
The CJN therefore, called for a thorough and comprehensive reform of the country’s judicial system to ensure access to justice at affordable costs and within a reasonable time frame, noting that delay in justice delivery could lead to people resorting to self-help.
He stated this at the virtual opening of 2020 All- Nigeria Judges’ Conference for judges of lower courts, at the National Judicial Institute (NJI), Abuja on Monday, with a theme: “The Role of Lower Courts in Promoting Justice and Good Governance in Nigeria.”
According to the CJN, “The delay in our justice delivery system has been a source of great concern to me, as it must be to you all.
“This unacceptable situation inevitably dictates the need for a thorough and comprehensive reform of our justice sector to ensure access to justice at affordable costs and within a reasonable time,” he said.
Muhammad said that given the constitutional role of the judiciary, it was important that citizens enjoyed easy access to courts.
This, he said, would help them ventilate their grievances and have their cases adjudicated upon.
In his welcome address, the Administrator of the institute, retired Justice Rosaline Bozimo, said that the biennial conference had always served as an avenue to stock taking by judges of the lower courts all over the country.
She said that it had also provided a platform to strategise on the means of adopting global best practices to meet critical challenges in the dispensation of justice to all in the country.
Bozimo said that the lower courts remained an ever-present and the enduring necessity to all Nigerians.
“The judiciary, as the third arm of government, has a very important role to play in the enthronement of the rule of law, even to the people at the grassroots.
“It is the duty of the judiciary to administer justice, according to the law, to all and sundry, whether high or low, rich or poor; public and private institutions as well as individuals and government, without fear or favour, affection or ill-will,” she said.