The Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Husseini Baba-Yusuf, on Monday, expressed concern over the negative effects of social media on the administration of justice.
Declaring the 2023/2024 Legal Year open, Mr Baba-Yusuf, said that the essential task of the judiciary is to make independent and impartial decisions on disputes brought before them.
He added that the goal of the judiciary was to uphold the principles of openness, transparency and accessibility in administering justice.
”I consider that it is pertinent to draw the attention to one social evil that confronts the administration of justice frontally in this jet age of technology. I refer here to the menace of social media.
”The rights of other persons are often breached with recklessness, misinformation, disinformation, fake news, cyber bullying, online harassment, etc., have become the order of the day.
”The alarming rates at which unverified allegations and malicious attacks on or against innocent persons are recklessly posted and spread around on social media denotes how so low civility has declined in our society at large,” he said.
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The truth, he said, remains that when institutions are maligned and debased, its evil effects percolate on the entire society.
”To bring me to my specific remarks today on this point, coming from my role as the head of an institution dedicated to the administration of justice, I find it worrisome to see these trends transposed.
”Sometimes in ways we notice, sometimes in ways we may not see, into the judicial sphere.
”These acts must never be found, let alone encouraged, in the noble profession that prides on conservatism,” he said.
The FCT judiciary, he said, received 5,952 and 7,364 cases respectively in the 2022/2023 legal year.
Mr Baba-Yusuf noted that for the effectiveness of the functions of judges, they have to be respected, regarded and protected.
“Moving on to the 2022/2023 legal year, the FCT high court assigned 5,952 new cases, consisting of both civil and criminal matters, while the 44 magistrates received 7,364 cases.
”In the course of the year, the courts successfully determined 4,293 cases representing 72.4 per cent. Meanwhile, the Magistrate Courts successfully determined 7,328 cases, encompassing both civil and criminal matters, and thereby achieving an outstanding completion rate of 99.6 per cent.
”As the 2022/2023 legal year wound up, there were 13,996 pending cases, covering both civil and criminal matters, at the Magistrate Court,” he said.
He said the FCT judiciary wants to deliver an exemplary justice that can repose confidence in the members of the public amid several challenges.
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