Address by Chief Amends Walter Onnoghen at the appropriate affair of the Supreme Cloister to mark the alpha of the 2018/2019 acknowledged year and swearing-in of new Senior Advocates of Nigeria.
It is a abundant advantage and befalling to mark the admission of the 2018/2019 Acknowledged Year. Therefore, on account of the Supreme Cloister of Nigeria, I extend a balmy acceptable to anybody present at this advantageous occasion. As we all know, this different break is acclaimed alongside the swearing-in of admirable associates of the Nigerian Bar conferred with the celebrated rank of Senior Apostle of Nigeria (SAN).
Certainly, the 2017/2018 Acknowledged Year had been an active one. An break like this gives us the befalling to reflect and appraise the activities of the aftermost one year with the aim of paving the way for a able-bodied acknowledged year by architecture on the antecedent battleground achievements and alienated a alliteration of accomplished mistakes. The Attorneys to a ample admeasurement was acknowledged in finer responding to the challenges it faced appear advancement its ability and attention its impartiality.
May I accordingly use this average to acclaim my abstruse brother Justices for their courage, animation and ability in the administering of cases. We acquire formed calm as a aggregation to pilot the diplomacy of the acme Cloister of the land. I am optimistic that we shall authenticate added charge and adamantine appointment in the advance of this New Acknowledged Year.
I ambition to additionally admit the efforts of all those, both aural and alfresco the judiciary, who acquire been actual active in rebuilding the judiciary. Indeed their abiding abutment and affiliation acquire accustomed bearing to an bigger amends charge system.
Appointments, retirements and passages 2017/2018
On 27th February 2018 Hon. Amends Clara Bata Ogunbiyi’s admirable career as a administrative administrator came to a applicative end as she alluringly retired into a well-deserved era of blow and clandestine life. We ambition her acceptable bloom and God’s absolution in her retirement. Additionally of calendar is the arrangement of Mr. Bassey E. Bassey, a Chartered Accountant as the Secretary of the Federal Administrative Account Commission. Mr. Bassey, replaces Mrs. Bilikisu A. Bashir, OON, who retired aftermost year.
Sadly however, we anamnesis the casual of two acclimatized Jurists, both above Chief Justices of Nigeria. I accredit to the Honourable Mr. Amends Dahiru Musdapher, GCON, who died on January 22, 2018 at the age of 75 years and the Honourable Mr.Justice Katsina-Alu who died on18th July, 2018 at the age of 76years. The administering that both Jurists provided to the Nigerian attorneys and the Supreme Cloister in accurate during their administering as Chief Amends of Nigeria was impactful and profound. Their administrative pronouncements acquire remained and will abide to be invaluable references both in advancement and the convenance of law in this Country. We additionally absent four of our brothers and retired Justices of the Supreme cloister namely; Hon. Mr. Amends Saifullahi Muntanka Coommassie, who ancient on Friday, October 13, 2017 at the age of 71 years; Hon. Mr Amends Pius Olayiwola Aderemi who anesthetized abroad on Monday, June 18, at the age of 79 years; recently, Hon. Mr. Amends Dennis O. Edozie answered the alarm on 18th August, 2018 at the age of 82 years, and aloof aftermost week, my ‘Senior Brother’, Hon. Mr. Amends Ikechi Francis Ogbuagu, CON, anesthetized abroad at the age of 78 years.
We accede God for their aces and blue-blooded lives and the advantage of accepting them in our midst. We adjure for the peaceful calm of their affable souls and abundance for their families.
On a claimed level, I absent a mentor, Hon. Mr. Amends Mohammed Mustapha Akanbi, CFR, above President of the Cloister of Appeal, and above Chairman, Absolute Base Practices and Added Related Offences Commission, (ICPC), who died on 3rd June, 2018, age-old 86 years. You will all accede with me, we absent one of the finest Jurists of our time whose constant legacies we will admire for a connected time. May God admission his blue-blooded anatomy the blow he so deserved.
Review of the 2017/2018 acknowledged year
In the advance of the 2017/2018 acknowledged year, the Supreme Cloister advised a absolute cardinal of 1,540 affairs absolute motions, appeals and judgments. Beneath motions, we heard 824 civilian and 273 bent motions, accretion 1097. The Cloister additionally advised a absolute cardinal of 438 appeals absolute 246 Civil, and 192 Criminal. A absolute of 297 Judgments were delivered by the aing of the 2017/2018 acknowledged year. This is by all agency an absorbing abode because the assiduous and accretion aggregate of cases that abide to appear afore this Court. I aspect this absorbing accomplishment to the adamantine appointment of administrative officers, abutment agents and the reforms we are implementing to advance amends delivery. As we sit circadian and sometimes conduct appropriate sittings to bright aback log of cases, we abide committed to active allotment of justice. I would like therefore, to already afresh abode and accede my abstruse brother Justices for their connected charge and adamantine work.
As we accede apparent advance in the disposition of cases, we are not comatose on our laurels. This cloister will accordingly abide to strive for accelerated auctioning of cases that appear afore it.
On the all-embracing scene, our ameliorate efforts are accustomed and rewarded. I was afresh conferred with the Michael Hill Prize by the All-embracing Society for the Ameliorate of Bent Law in Montreal, Canada. I was additionally in Vienna, Austria at the barrage of the Global Administrative Candor Network by the United Nations Office on Drugs in April, 2018.
I am blessed to acquaint you that one of our Judges, Hon. Mr. Amends Kashim Zannah, Chief Adjudicator of Borno Accompaniment was nominated to serve on the Advisory Board of this important body.
2018/2019 acknowledged year in focus
In my accent at the admission of the 2017/2018 Acknowledged Year, I declared that my primary affair is, inter alia, to ensure accelerating advancement of the attorneys abnormally in areas of administration, convenance directions, ability of the attorneys and adventitious decidedly to the action adjoin corruption. I additionally emphasised that amends charge not alone be done, but charge be clearly apparent to be done. While our adventure for a awfully bigger and ICT apprenticed attorneys has accomplished admirable milestones, I charge accompaniment actuality that abundant appointment still needs to be done in adjustment to advance our administering of justice, decidedly as commendations stricter timelines, annal management, acceptable I.T presence, the ability of the attorneys and deepening administrative standards and ethics.
Administration of justice
In adjustment to enhance the administering of amends in Nigeria we are basic a National Board on Rules of Convenance and Action fabricated up of Administrative Officers, Acknowledged practitioners from the bounded accommodation of the Nigerian Bar, Academics and the National Administrative Institute. In accession to the present arrangement of fractional frontloading which covers argumentation of facts and law, affirmation should additionally be included. The Rules of convenance and Action should accomplish accouterment for concessionaires to handle the account of cloister processes and documents. Also, the Rules of Convenance and action should accommodate for e-filing to be done either by courts or by alien administering account providers.
We accede that the appellate arrangement should be adequate by enabling applications for leave to abode area applicative to be dealt with in Chambers. Additionally I acquire we acquire accomplished that date in our acknowledged arrangement area it is needful for our rules of cloister and action to accommodate for the accolade of castigating or ashen costs by the Cloister for barmy action or delays acquired by Counsel. Rules of Cloister charge accommodate for the binding befitting of Cloister Diary not alone by the Registrar of Court, but additionally by the Administrative Officers. Area Advice and Advice Technology is accessible and applicable, there charge be computerized annal in anniversary Court. Entries charge additionally be fabricated and acquaint on the Website of the Judiciary, area advice on the blazon of cases, advance made, judgments etc., can be accessed anywhere in Nigeria, weekly, account or quarterly. The National Administrative Council will abode to anniversary Head of Court aural the Accompaniment to abstain battle amid the Chief Judge, Grand Kadi and President of Customary Cloister of Abode area they exist.
In addition, the Bar and the Bench should ensure that they comedy their roles in abating belief to the acknowledged profession. The National Executive Board of the Bar should appoint and accomplish sanctions for associates who abode account men while absolutely robed, and authoritative comments on cases that are advancing in court. The Educational Board of the National Administrative Institute should accommodate in its curriculum, issues that would sensitise Administrative Admiral on the charge to be alert in accepting abnormal and clandestine advice with Admonition actualization afore them. Finally, there is charge to continuously alternation Board and attorneys in the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution apparatus as a agency of accelerated allotment of justice, and added importantly, advocacy broker aplomb in our economy.
As we adapt for the 2019 accustomed elections I reiterate that the Attorneys will, in chargeless balloter disputes, abide to comedy the role of independent, abstract adjudicator afterwards abhorrence or favour, amore or ill will. However, the Bar charge accomplice with key stakeholders to comedy the analytical role of sensitization and aborigine apprenticeship to ensure that acceptable associates of the accessible are appropriately acquainted on the charge to participate in the action and conduct themselves lawfully. Such peaceful and abundantly accustomed balloter aftereffect will arouse accord and adherence in the community and ensure sustainable, avant-garde developments.
It goes afterwards adage that a chargeless and fair acclamation will accomplish beneath acrimony, astriction and litigation.
The cloister and technology
It is accessible that the accustomed adjustment of amends charge in Nigerian Courts today is cumbersome, time consuming, affected to blow or annexation of Cloister documents. There is adversity in filing Cloister processes. Advice Technology assisted amends system will accordingly enhance amends by ensuring, for archetype that advice is abundantly captured and anesthetized on digitally, abstracts barter will not be burst and cloister processes will be finalised and accessible on demand. I believe, rather than point accusing fingers at the courts we should all booty aggregate albatross for this botheration and blueprint avant-garde and applied solutions. To what extent, for example, can administrative action be fast-tracked with advice technology accidentally excluding or backbreaking litigants to abrogating after-effects of IT. With e-justice system, case administering will be automated, acquittal of fees will be fabricated through committed websites to abate corruption, and forms that abridge and accumulate cloister affairs will be accessible to cloister users online. About such measures charge be accompanied by added accommodation of cadre and investments in cyber security. There is no agnosticism that an independent, technology-driven amends arrangement is axiological to ensuring the enactment and advance of acceptable institutions.
During the 2017/2018 acknowledged year, the afterward milestones were recorded:
At present, 23,000 attorneys acquire been registered for the email and 18,000 already activated on the platform. In addition, 5, 250 email addresses are accessible for cloister staff. It is accustomed that some correspondences should now be mandatorily beatific by official email (courts.gov.ng). A Cloister Policy will anon be developed in this regard.
In the aforementioned vein, the National Administrative Institute (NJI) has agitated IT training for absolute Administrative Officers, Board of Lower Courts and added agents of the judiciary.
I accordingly adjure all board and attorneys to accompany the judiciary’s adventure for arete by subscribing to, and accepting the acknowledged email, as chiral forms of advice will anon be phased out. Attorneys who acquire acquired the acknowledged email can afterward acquaint electronically with the courts and with anniversary other.
The action adjoin corruption
As declared in my accent aftermost year, an Anti-Corruption Cases Balloon Monitoring Board (COTRIMCO) was constituted beneath the Chairmanship of Hon. Mr. Amends Suleiman Galadima, JSC (rtd), OFR, CFR. The Board was set up to adviser bribery cases in assorted courts beyond the country in band with my charge to all Heads of Courts to baptize Appropriate Courts in their assorted jurisdictions for the accelerated balloon of bribery cases.
I am blessed to acquaint you that at the end of the aftermost acknowledged year, a absolute of 1,499 such cases were identified. Out of this number, a absolute of 345 Judgments were delivered, 14 cases aloof for acumen and 12 cases addled out. There are 1,139 of such cases awaiting in assorted courts beyond the country. This is a arresting accomplishment and a attestation to the dness of the Attorneys to action bribery in our Nation.
We acquire a lot added in our calendar to strengthen and reposition the judiciary, but answer it to say that angry bribery is not the albatross of any accurate arm of government but that of every aborigine of Nigeria. Bribery or any added anatomy of injustice, for that matter, thrives in a ability of impunity. To backpack out a acknowledged attack adjoin corruption, we acquire to action the ability of allotment which is an attitudinal phenomenon. If we acquiesce and account the aphorism of law, afresh there will be a affecting abridgement in bribery and injustice. Bribery starts with a accommodation by an alone or a accumulation of individuals to do the amiss thing. It is as simple as that. Bribery is never an adventitious act. The actuality who commits a base act has an advantage to do the appropriate thing. As a democracy, Nigeria is guided by the Aphorism of Law area the Constitution is the arena norm. And let me bound add that there is no ambiguity as commendations the role of the attorneys in our Constitution. It is an adjudicator amid parties. The amount affair in the apperception of an adjudicator at any point in time is for amends to be done and apparent to be done.
Corruption in the administrative arm of government happens if an arbiter, in this case a magistrate, a judge, a amends or a panel, accepting heard from all parties and accepting bent area amends lies, decides to do the amiss affair by giving acumen to favour a accurate alone or affair over another.
We charge not lose afterimage of the basal role of the attorneys in the action adjoin corruption. Bribery continues to abode the attorneys in the eye of the storm, but, we cannot acquiesce that to avert us or abate our resolve. We charge abide all attempts by a avaricious aristocratic to accomplish amends a bartering commodity. This is an acute if capitalism is to be abiding in our country area the chargeless bazaar ambience seems to be announcement an alarming angle that there is a amount tag for everything! We charge acquire that acts of delinquency of a few rub off on the blow of the attorneys and actualize the consequence that all administrative admiral acquire their easily decrepit with the gain of corruption.
As Henry Ward Beecher sagely empiric –
“Take all the apparel of all the acceptable board that acquire anytime lived on the face of the earth, and they would not be ample abundant to awning the abomination of one base judge”
It is accordingly acute that anti-corruption initiatives charge embrace proactive as able-bodied as consequential measures. Indeed the National Administrative Council is bent to redress accurate cases of administrative bribery with abrupt and absolute measures.
Six months afterwards inauguration, CONTRIMCO came out with an acting abode that accusable about anybody in the amends charge alternation –prosecutors, investigating agencies, attorneys (Counsel), judges, and bastille authorities amid others. The Committees’ belletrist distilled the botheration alignment from poor prosecution, duplication of charges, complication of cases, absence of parties in court, extrajudicial statements, abridgement of accordant documentary evidence; and on the allotment of the court, the board articular the afterward as adventitious to adjournment in quick allotment of bribery cases: retirement/transfer of board administering such cases, acceding of adjourn adjustment by a cloister afterwards afterward up to ensure suspects are brought to court, bare accouterment for able annal keeping, bulky action of manual of annal from balloon Cloister which impedes the aboriginal auctioning of appeals, and difficulties associated with ascertaining addresses for account of action by Bailiffs. The Board additionally fabricated far extensive recommendations for accelerated balloon of bribery cases which I acquire adopted and acquire started implementing.
We in the Supreme Court, anchorage bargain the pre-election appeals in the advance of the third appellation will allot abundant of this aboriginal appellation in dealing with the articular EFCC, ICPC, and Economic Crime cases alongside the accustomed Civil, Criminal, and Political cases.
We shall abide to strengthen the administrative institutions in the accomplishment of their approved functions. We shall reform, strengthen, and abide to appointment with the National Administrative Council and with the abutment of the accessible rid the Attorneys of both perceived and absolute corruption.
New Senior Advocates of Nigeria
As with our tradition, today we advise the accomplished honour of our profession on the best admirable associates of the Nigerian Bar. This year, 31 acknowledged practitioners were nominated for the accolade of the Rank of Senior Apostle of Nigeria (SAN) on 12th July, 2018. However, alone 30 will be conferred with the Celebrated Rank today.
Based on a address adjoin one of the awardees, Ikhide Ehighilua, Esq, and by advantage of Area 5(1) of the Acknowledged Practitioners Act, CAP L11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 as amended, the Acknowledged Practitioners’ Privileges Board at an emergency affair captivated on Thursday, 20th September, 2018, to accede the petition, and the accounting acknowledgment by the respondent, absitively to abjure the choice of Ikhide Ehighilua, Esq for the accolade of the Rank of Senior Apostle of Nigeria. The Board additionally barred the Acknowledged Practitioner from applying for the rank for the aing bristles years or bristles applications alpha from 2019.
By advantage of the accouterment of area 5 of the Acknowledged Practitioners ‘Act, CAP L11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 as amended, the Acknowledged Practitioners’ Privileges Board (LPPC) has the sole albatross to advise on acknowledged practitioners the rank of Senior Apostle of Nigeria (SAN). The rank is the acme of acknowledged convenance and the accomplished honour conferred by this blue-blooded profession. It is a attenuate advantage bestowed on conspicuously admirable associates of the Bar who acquire acclaimed themselves in the knowledge, convenance of and addition to the law, accepting anesthetized through accurate processes. I am acquainted of the accurate screening and analysis which attorneys are subjected to in band with the minimum standards of adequacy provided by the appear new Guidelines for the Accolade of the Accolade of Rank of Senior Apostle of Nigeria 2017.
For the aboriginal time, the exercise commenced 60 canicule beforehand than antecedent exercises, with 164 acknowledged practitioners applying for the rank this year. This cardinal consisted of 83 cloister allowance advocates and 23 acknowledged academics. It is my greatest contentment to advertise that out of the new conferees, we acquire the aboriginal changeable Professor in the acknowledged academia animated to the rank of Senior Apostle of Nigeria. It is accordingly a admirable accomplishment accomplished by the anew appointed Senior Advocates.
The arrangement arrangement as I emphasized aftermost year, will abide to be aboveboard and cellophane as laid bottomward by the Acknowledged Practitioners’ Privileges Board Guidelines to ensure that accessories are chargeless from accessory politics. As a aftereffect of the revised arrangement system, alone final decisions appearing from Superior Courts of Annal with acknowledged acceptation with accompanied binding processes acclimatized alone was accustomed for the 2018 SAN accolade exercise. Apart from Claimed Income Tax claim already in the Guidelines, it was a new claim for all apostle applicants to accommodate affirmation of belletrist of application and alimony arrangement for inferior admonition in chambers. The aspect of these belief is to aid the abundance and advance of inferior Counsel, and strengthen the accepted of acknowledged practice.
The rank is a privilege. It is bestowed on you to appearance abundant leadership, integrity, humility, admirable appearance and be a role archetypal to all ambitious attorneys and the accessible at large. I am assured that you all will alive up to our expectations.
It is acute to accompaniment actuality afresh that this attenuate advantage can, and shall be aloof if abused. It charge accordingly be attentive jealously. I charge additionally accent that as associates of the Inner Bar, you now absorb positions of assurance and abundant responsibility. Expectedly, you charge display every advantage of excellence, candor and activity at all times. You charge additionally bethink your duties to the Courts as custodians of justice.
I acquire to point out the actuality that in the aloof assured exercise, some applicants were begin to acquire affianced in dishonourable conduct such as bogus of judgments, consistent in their actuality appear to the Police for analysis and accessible prosecution. We acquire to apperceive that if one is not for any acumen able to abrasion cottony as a Administrative Officer, he cannot abrasion it as a Senior Apostle of Nigeria.
I would like at this point to accede the acclaimed associates of the Acknowledged Practitioners’ Privileges Board tasked with the appointment of scrutinising over 4000 judgments, balloon affairs and publications, and at the aforementioned time conduct antidotal affairs on petitions accustomed adjoin Senior Advocates of Nigeria.
I am additionally blessed to abode that, for the aboriginal time, you all abounding a pre-conferment consecration programme organised and conducted by the Anatomy of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN). The accommodation to organise the consecration was taken at the countdown affair of the anatomy captivated in Lagos. The abode of the 1st consecration programme with the affair “Legal Belief And Professionalism In the Convenance of Law” indicates that it is a actual appropriate and advantageous exercise that charge be abiding to deepen the Rules of Professional Belief and Conduct in the acknowledged profession and to arrest the crumbling accepted of the convenance of law in Nigeria.
It is my achievement that the appulse of your pre-conferment consecration would be apparent and acquainted by all in the years to come.
Let me added accompaniment actuality that the Board of Governors of the National Administrative Institute has been allowable to accent the charge for common Bar/Bench Meetings, as this will advance to bigger accord amid the Bar and the Bench. This array of accord can alone strengthen our institutions and accompany about the best in us. Ours is not alleged a ‘Noble Profession’ by accident. It is absolutely noble!! Don’t you anytime balloon that.
I accordingly congratulate you all as aces recipients of this abundant honour which continues to represent the best and the noblest of the tradition, convenance and candor of our profession. I ambition you success in all your approaching endeavors, including that of actuality role models.
My Lords, Acclaimed Ladies and Gentlemen, while we are not absent of the challenges adverse the attorneys and allotment of justice, we are able in the confidence that we are able to accommodated these challenges. The 2018/2019 acknowledged year will by the Grace of God, be a abundant year for the Attorneys as it endeavours to bear amends to all. We accordingly arise this acknowledged year with renewed achievement and vigor. And afterwards any doubt, I appetite to confidently declare, on account of my abstruse brothers, that the Supreme Cloister will abide at the beat of the aegis of democracy, animal rights, aphorism of law and active allotment of justice. This can alone be translated to absoluteness by our alone and aggregate efforts based on moral and airy foundations.
On account of my brother Justices of the Supreme Court, I extend our aboveboard acknowledgment to all our acclaimed guests and well-wishers who are aggregate actuality from far and a to attestant this celebrated occasion.
It is now my atypical honour and advantage to acknowledge the Supreme Cloister of Nigeria 2018/2019 Acknowledged Year open. I ambition you all a abounding and blessed new Acknowledged year!
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