The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, has warned the new Court of Appeal justices to do everything humanly possible to avoid accepting juicy but destructive gifts that may land them in trouble and end their careers in the discharge of their judicial functions.
The CJN said that their reputation matters much and counts enormously in their rise to honor and fame in life and must be well protected.
Justice Muhammad, who issued the warning on Monday while inaugurating the 18 appellate court justices at the Supreme Court, informed them that several high profile cases would come their way and in company of some juicy, and irresistible temptations and warned them to avoid the temptations in their own interest.
“Let me point out unambiguously that in life gifts and wealth that are not worked for, which are by extension undeserving are always wrapped in calamity and destruction”
“Flee from them and keep your heads high above the murky waters of corruption so that you can be conveniently counted among the very best in the Nigeria judiciary”
“You must, against all odds, conduct your affairs within the ambit of the law and the oath that has just been administered on you,” he said.
“If you are hitherto 50 percent under public scrutiny, I can assure you now that it has risen to 100 percent by virtue of this your elevation to the court of appeal.
“The templo and rate of public assessment of your conduct and disposition will now assume astronomical rise. You must redouble your efforts and dialogue properly with your conscience in order not to fall out of the grace of God and the Nigerian people.”
The CJN also reminded the new justices that it takes nothing to join the crowd but it takes a lot to stand alone with good conscience.
Justice Muhammad charged them to fasten their belts and roll up their sleeves to face the challenges head-on adding “you must redouble your pace to catch up with the expectation of the litigants”.
While congratulating them on their elevation, the CJN further reminded them that as judicial officers, they have a divine mandate on earth that they must discharge with honesty and sincerity because they will give account of themselves to justify their elevation to the Court of Appeal.
The ceremony was attended by three serving governors, Plateau, Yobe and Ondo, former Bayelsa governor and now senator, Serike Dickson, former Supreme Court and Court of Appeal justices.