- Chief Justice Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, asserts judiciary’s commitment to resist public opinion pressures amid criticisms and controversies
- CJN Ariwoola emphasizes the importance of detachment from public sentiments, urging judges to uphold the law without succumbing to external influences
Chief Justice Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, has emphatically stated the judiciary’s commitment to remain impervious to the pressures of public opinion.
In the aftermath of contentious rulings resulting in the removal of certain governors and lawmakers, criticism towards judges, especially concerning perceived errors in the certified true copy of the judgment of the Court of Appeal that ousted Kano State governor, Abba Kabir Yusuf, has intensified.
Respected constitutional lawyer, Professor Auwalu Yadudu, acknowledged the legitimacy of CJN’s stance amid “unfounded allegations of corruption against the judiciary and insinuations of bias.” However, he cautioned judges to exercise prudence to prevent the judiciary from being tainted by inadvertent mistakes.
Addressing the special session marking the 2023/2024 legal year and the induction of 58 new Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), CJN Ariwoola urged judges to stand firm.
“I expect every judicial officer to work diligently, be honest, and maintain courtesy towards litigants, witnesses, and members of the bar. In all your judicial functions, remain humble. Despite public opinions, sentiments, or emotions, the law must prevail in deciding cases,” asserted the CJN.
He cautioned against succumbing to public pressure, stating, “The law remains the law, irrespective of whose interest is involved. We must detach ourselves from the influence of the mob and not let emotions cloud our judgment.”
While acknowledging that judges’ unnecessary remarks could embarrass both others and themselves, the CJN emphasized the importance of discernment in questioning and avoiding irrelevant inquiries.
CJN Ariwoola affirmed his dedication to upholding the rule of law, ensuring the judiciary’s holistic independence, and fostering public trust and confidence.
Additionally, he assured that the Supreme Court would soon have its full complement of 21 justices, overcoming the constitutional requirement challenges. In the period between September 12, 2022, and July 11, 2023, the Supreme Court handled 1,271 cases, comprising motions and appeals across political, criminal, and civil domains. The apex court delivered 251 judgments and 91 rulings during this time, demonstrating its commitment to dispensing justice in various legal realms.