President Goodluck Jonathan has admonished Judges to “resist the temptation of dancing to the whims and caprices of political gladiators that destroy the political landscape”.
He, however, stated that the Nigerian Judiciary is one of the most upright in Africa; adding there was need for increased vigilance on the part of the judiciary especially as it relates to the resolution of electoral disputes.
Jonathan said this at the flagging-off the 2013 All Nigeria Judges’ Conference which commenced at the National Judicial Institute, NJI, in Abuja on Monday December 9, 2013.
President Jonathan’s speech was read by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, SAN.
The President started by stating that his administration is working tirelessly to resolve the lingering crisis between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), and the Federal Government; calling on ASUU to call of the strike in the interest of Nigeria’s education system.
“While views may differ on the utility of industrial action as a means of advancing the collective interest of workers in the polity, it is an unassailable fact that labour and industrial harmony is sine qua none to the socio-economic development of any nation, Nigeria inclusive
“This administration recognizes and respects the right of workers including the right to embark on industrial action to press home their demand and have taken concrete steps to address the grievances of ASUU. I therefore use this occasion to call on ASUU to call off its strike.
“With this, Nigeria’s quest to become one of the world’s twenty largest economies by the year 2020 cannot be achieved in an atmosphere of industrial disharmony.
“It is expected that the conference will focus on factors that promote efficiency in the discharge of judicial function, the balancing of the demand for judicial accountability and independence to ensure outcome that advance the yearning of the people; all institution of government to be accountable to the people without sacrificing the integrity and independence of our judges.
“To achieve the needed labour and industrial harmony in the judiciary, government is of the firm view that the national judicial council must heed to the respective call of duty of ensuring that judicial officer are not solely given tools necessary for the effective discharge of their duty but also the enabling environment that enhances the dignity of judges and their independence.
“This is important in view of the allegation of undue trial delay, abuse in granting of ex parte and interim injunction, inconsistency in judicial reasoning, and politicization of the judiciary, infrastructure inadequacy and corruption among other.
“It is instructive to note that this perception does raise doubts among investors both local and foreign and the business community in general about the conduciveness of our environment for doing business with attendant negative consequence on government effort to attract foreign direct investment needed for development.
“It is gratifying to note that the judiciary is making concerted effort to tackle this institutional challenge. Most prominent of the measures being implemented include the review of rules of practice and procedure, and the introduction of new practice direction to eliminate bias, performance evaluation based on key performance indicators to enhance efficiency, rigorous enforcement of code of conduct for judicial officers to address ethical standard and enforce discipline on erring judges,” he said.