Speaking at an event organised by the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) which held at the presidential villa in Abuja on Tuesday, The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen, has ordered judges to resume sitting in their respective courts at 9am.
He stated, that the latest development was part of 13 reforms aimed at sanitising the judiciary.
Represented by Zainab Bulkachuwa, president of the court of appeal, Onnoghen said unnecessary delay of justice was tantamount to an act of corruption.
“The delay in our justice delivery system is of great concern to me. This unacceptable situation inevitably dictates the need for a thorough and comprehensive reform of our justice sector to ensure access to justice at affordable costs and within a reasonable time.
“Such a reform agenda must of necessity require the cooperation of the three arms of government, namely; the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary, as well as other relevant stakeholders.
The reforms I have introduced cover a wide range of issues; from establishing new modalities for appointment of judicial officers, to tightening judicial discipline regulations, and fashioning out a speedy way to clear backlog of cases, among others.
“Clearly, any unnecessary delay of justice is equally an act of corruption. Therefore, to enhance speedy dispensation of justice, we are ensuring that the rules of court procedure must contain a provision for the award of punitive cost by the court for frivolous litigation or delays caused by counsel.
“In the same vein, I am reviving and strengthening the inspectorate division to go round the country and ensure that, in line with public service rules, all judicial officers go to work and sit in their courts from Monday to Friday from 9am to at least 4pm.
“And, in line with NJC’s revised code of conduct for judicial officers, I have directed that travels outside Nigeria should be with the permission of the Hon. Chief justice of Nigeria, after an application would have been time.”
Some of the reforms are; establishing new modalities for the appointment of judicial officers, strengthening judicial discipline regulations and ensuring transparent delivery of justice.
“Rules of court procedure will now contain provision for the award of cost for frivolous litigation or delays and all heads of courts will designate some courts in their jurisdictions as special courts to handle corruption cases.
“Twenty percent of judiciary budget will be devoted to Corruption and Financial Crimes Cases Trial Monitoring Committee (COTRIMCO).
“Judges of lower courts have been directed to submit returns of cases quarterly to the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC).”