President Muhammadu Buhari has again promised to support the judiciary to ensure it discharges its mandate efficiently.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, made the pledge on Mr Buhari’s behalf at the opening ceremony of the conference for Justices of the Court of Appeal on Tuesday evening in Abuja.
Mr Mustapha, who was a guest at the event, told the gathering of judges and lawyers that he had met Mr Buhari earlier in the day at the Presidential Villa, where the latter asked the SGF to convey his wishes to the judiciary.
“I want to assure you of the support of the federal government in ensuring that the Court of Appeal is well-resourced to dispense justice efficiently,” Mr Mustapha said.
He went to say: “I met with President Buhari earlier this afternoon, and he said he is with the judiciary; to leave a legacy of judiciary that can bequeathed to future generations.”
After making his remarks, the SGF unveiled the Court of Appeal Rules 2021, which he said would ensure “the speedier and fairer dispensation of justice.”
Mr Mustapha lauded the Court of Appeal President, Monica Dongban-Mensen, for her innovative leadership of the appellate court.
Work is killing at Appeal Court – CJN
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Tanko Mohammad, while declaring the conference open, decried the enormous workload the Justices of the appellate court grapple with.
Mr Mohammad had on different occasions raised concerns over the heavy workload on justices, especially his colleagues at the Supreme Court.
But he was particular about the Court of Appeal at the Tuesday event, saying, “Justices of the Court of Appeal are terribly overworked; Justices of the court do not sleep.”
He called for the “cooperation” of stakeholders.
“Without the Court of Appeal, I don’t think the Supreme Court can function properly. Therefore, anything that will do support the court of appeal, we will do,” Mr Mohammad promised.
The CJN appealed to Mrs Dongban-Mensen to allow her colleagues on the bench to “rest.”
“There is no Court in this country that works as the Court of Appeal works,” adding that the celebratory nature of the conference opening session would allow justices to unwind after hectic period of adjudication.
He further said the Court of Appeal is the bridge between the trial and apex courts.
The conference is an annual event held to highlight challenges in the appellate court with a view to proffering solutions.
Mrs Dogban-Mensen explained that the primary goal of the court remains the dispensation and administration of justice.
She noted that the court’s new rules would quicken justice delivery.
On his part, head of the committee that put the Court of Appeal 2021 Rules together, Yakubu Maikyau, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), said the new rules “will help in the efficient dispensation of justice. This is a product of several sleepless nights”.
Mr Maikyau noted that a lot of innovations had gone into the new rules, recommending the new document to lawyers and other courts in the country.
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