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Mukhtar To Uphold Nigerians' Trust As New Legal Year Begins


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… Inaugurates 25 SANs.

ABUJA, September 12, (THEWILL) - Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloma Mukhtar on Tuesday formally opened the new legal year, promising not to betray the confidence of the public in her as the head of the Judiciary.

Mukhtar admitted the she, as well as her colleagues in the Judiciary, understands the enormity of the challenges before them but would always rise to the demands of the occasion.

“You will agree with me that the stakes are indeed high, and the challenges very enormous,” she said.

“Our resolve remains absolute. In the new legal year, our efforts will be redoubled to ensure that the confidence bestowed on us by the people and by God will not be thrown into abyss.

“The ultimate goal is where the hope of the public lies; and we will, on our own part, do everything necessary to keep that hope alive, knowing that the Judiciary is the only catalyst for societal cohesion.”

Mukhtar added that a society can operate under the rule of law only if laws are fairly, rationally, consistently and impartially administered.

On other matters, she expressed worry over the snail’s pace of dispensation of justice, urging the Judiciary to embrace computerisation in tackling the challenge.

To this end, she said the National Judicial Council would issue a policy guideline, compelling all serving judicial officers and judiciary support staff to be computer literate.

The ceremony also witnessed the inauguration of 25 lawyers recently conferred with the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

In his address at the occasion, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN) accused lawyers and some SANs of tampering with monies belonging to their clients, a development he described as declining the ethical standards of the profession.

He warned lawyers against seeing the rank of SAN as a licence to command fat fees, and emphasised the need to rid the Judiciary of its bad eggs.

“Today's ceremony affords us yet another opportunity to reflect in the true significance of the rank of Senior Advocates of Nigeria. In popular discourse within and outside the profession, there is a palpable feeling and perception that the rank is a passport to fame, personal riches and comfort,” he noted.

“To others, the rank is a licence to command fat fees, open doors and prominence bordering sometimes on arrogance. It is a matter of regret that these negative perceptions of the rank have engendered resentment from our colleagues who are yet to be similarly recoganised and honoured.”

He urged the new SANs to note that they owe a duty and responsibility to the profession and the country, saying they must conduct themselves in a manner befitting of the rank.

“You are expected to demonstrate high ethical standards, integrity and professionalism in all your dealings. Anything short of this high expectation will be a disservice to your status and a betrayal of the trust and responsibility reposed in you.”

Lagos-based human rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana and the others were elevated to the elite lawyers rank by the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee. According to the committee, the elevation is in accordance with provisions of the Legal Practitioners' Act 2004.

Others are Professor Yemi Akinseye-George, a lecturer at the University of Ibadan; Professor Dakas Clement James Dakas, Joy Okungbowa Adesina, Chief Mrs. Connie-Jeanne Aremu, Mahmud Abubakar Magaji, Ogwu James Onoja, Garuba Usman Tetengi, Henry Oghogho Ogbodu, Selekeowei Larry, Abenny O. Mohammed and Charles Nwanne Obishai.

Others are Luke Chukwudi Illogu, Francis Chuka Agbo, Paul C. Ananaba, Akinlaja Dayo Moses, Ahmed Raji, Adekunle Theophilus Oyesanya, Rotimi Oluseyi Oguneso, Oluseye Samuel Opasanya, Aderoja Claudius Olumiyiwa, Aliyu Umar, Illo Katune Sanusi, Rotimi Jacobs and Ndukwe A. Nnawuchi.

By: offence SONI