The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mahmud Mohammed, on Monday, said the decision of the National Judicial Council (NJC) to prevent judicial officers standing trial from performing judicial functions, pending the determination of their investigation was to preserve the independence of the judiciary of the country.
Speaking while swearing-in Justices Amina Augie and Justice Ejembi Eko into the office of Justice of the Supreme Court, the CJN, who is also the chairman of the NJC, said the decision to suspend judicial officers from performing judicial function, if under investigation, followed communications it received from the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN).
The AGF, he said, told the NJC that he was embarking on the prosecution of the affected judicial officers to enable them to defend themselves in the allegations against them.
Justice Mohammed said the country would suffer and true democracy would be undermined if the confidence in Judges of the nation’s court was undermined and the independence of the judiciary was eroded.
The CJN, who said the two new Justices were appointed to the Supreme Court at the time the judiciary was facing lots of challenges, expressed the hope that they would adhere strictly to their oaths of allegiance to dispense justice without fear or favour.
“Now more than ever, it is important to be firm, honest and steadfast in the discharge of your duties, while striving to emulate the greats of this court by enthroning the rule of law and respect for our courts,” the CJN said.
Justice Mohammed assured that the judiciary, as an arm of government, would remain resolute in its commitment and resolve to uphold it is independence and adjudicate with utmost fairness and justice as prescribed in the constitution and the law.
He charged the new Justices of the Supreme Court and all judicial officers to be firm and honest in the discharge of their judicial functions as this would have multiple effects on the society.
“You must remain blind to personality and status and remain the hope of all men, whether common or uncommon. Hence the integrity and impartiality of our courts must not be in question or compromised,” he said.