President Muhammadu Buhari delivered remarks at the opening of the 2017 Biennial All Nigeria Judges Conference in Abuja on Monday.
Speaking on the theme of the conference, “Strengthening Judicial Integrity and the Rule of Law”, Buhari highlighted three issues facing the judiciary:
- Protracted court cases, which “can drag on for years and years, sometimes decades without resolution.”
- “Huge backlogs of cases waiting to be dispensed especially at the Appellate levels. Reform of the judiciary should start at eliminating these seemingly endless delays in settling what to the layman are apparently simple cases.”
- Conflicting court rulings: “Higher courts should endeavour to harmonize their rulings. There are contradictory decisions of superior courts on the same subject matter in cases where facts are substantially the same without a clear attempt in subsequent cases to distinguish the earlier cases. This lack of clarity leads to serious confusion to the lower courts.”
Buhari asked the judges to look into the issues.
One other thing: Buhari reiterated that the arrest of some judges earlier this year was not an attack on the Judiciary.
“My lords, earlier this year the Judiciary came under investigation. Let me again assure the judicial community, this action taken by the Executive was in no way a prelude to usurping the powers of the National Judicial Council or aimed at intimidating the Judiciary as wrongly portrayed in some sections of the media. Executive and legislative officials were also investigated,” he said.