The office of the Chief Justice of Nigeria is a very sensitive office in the judicial arm of the government of Nigeria, and the judicial arm of government of Nigeria is headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, in the person of Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen.
Mr. Onnoghen, also saddled with the responsibility of presiding over Nigerian Supreme Court, which is the highest of all the courts in Nigeria, including the National Judicial Council NJC.
The decision of the Supreme Court of Nigeria is however, final. The present Nigerian Chief of Justice, Mr. Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen was appointed by the current President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and he was to serve on acting capacity, after Mahmud Mohammed had retired on reaching the age of retirement as prescribed.
It is usually the President of the federal republic of Nigeria who normally nominates the Nigerian Chief of Justice, once the National Judicial Council has made recommendation, and such recommendation can only be honoured if the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria confirmed same.
The Nigerian Chief Justice will continue to remain in office, provided it is at the pleasure of the Nigerian constitution.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria cannot be removed from office, except by retirement or death. He can also leave office through impeachment by the Senate, and such impeachment requires that, the Senate of the federal republic of Nigeria have a super majority from the Senate members before such impeachment can be effected.
What are his Functions?
The Chief Justice of Nigeria saddled with a lot of responsibilities, as the hard of the judicial arm of the government of Nigeria. In this article, we are going to look at some of the functions of the Chief Justice of Nigeria.
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1. The Chief Justice Of Nigeria Oversees Activities Of The Judicial Arm Of Nigeria
Having briefed you on who actually is the Chief Justice of Nigeria, one of his functions has been to oversees the activities of Judicial arm of government of Nigeria.
It is the duty of the Chief of Justice to decide on what he thinks is right and perhaps, what he thinks is wrong particularly, when it comes to Nigerian laws. Therefore, it is important that, every Nigerian knows his name and his functions.
2. The Chief Justice Of Nigeria Protects The Laws Of The Country
The highest institution in Nigeria, where justice is sought for, is the supreme court of Nigeria. Now once the supreme court of Nigeria takes decisions, those decisions are final.
Therefore, going by this fact, it is expected that, the Chief Justice of Nigeria tries as much as possible to make sure that he bears a greater responsibility of making sure that, the Nigerian laws are protected.
Otherwise, in a situation, where the Chief Justice of Nigeria does not take to such responsibility, there is bound to be chaos in the judicial system of this country.
3. The Chief Justice Of Nigeria Spotlights The Mistakes Of Other Arms Of Government And Correct Same
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However, the third arm of government, that is the judiciary is under the supervision of the chief justice of Nigeria. Therefore, it is expected of the chief justice of Nigeria to ensure that the judiciary is strong enough, and remained independent, so as to be able to correct the mistakes of other arms of government, such as the Executive and the Judiciary, when spotlighted them.
After all the third arm of government cannot afford to see how the liberty of the Nigerian citizens is at stake. The Chief Justice of Nigeria is also expected to ensure that the excesses of other arms of government and that of the citizens are curbed.
It is believed that, the Nigerian Chief Justice cannot allow the Nigerians trust to be misplaced at all. It is the function of the Chief Justice of Nigeria to make sure that, all wrongdoings are corrected.
4. The Chief Justice Of Nigeria Ensures That There Is Reduction Of Congestion Of Cases In The Court
It is the function of the Chief Justice of Nigeria to make sure that, there is reduction of congestion of cases in Nigerian courts. Some persons might have ask as to what causes congestion of cases in Nigerian courts.
Finding has revealed that, complaints that comes from litigants have been what that have contributed to the delay of cases trials in Nigerian courts.
Because in most cases, justice delayed is nothing but justice denied. It is true that, the Judiciary, is simply the watch dog of the society, in fact, the watch dog of citizens’ rights and citizens’ liberty.
Therefore, it is expected of the Chief Justice of Nigeria to make sure that individuals, organizations, who threaten to undermine the corporate existence of Nigeria should be called to order.
5. The Chief Justice Of Nigeria Ensures That The Acknowledged Independence Of Judiciary Is Protected
For Nigerians faith in the country’s Judiciary system to be unshakable, the Nigerian judiciary must remained independent.
Therefore, one of those functions of the Chief Justice of Nigeria is to do everything within his power to make sure that the acknowledged independence of the Judiciary is honoured and protected.
By so doing, the dignity and impartiality of Nigerian judges would be enhanced. And as a result, the high esteem which Nigerian citizens held for judges would be maintained.
Nonetheless, although, honest and impartial service can be ladened with thorns, but with courage, and probity, and learning, the Nigeria’s Chief Justice is expected to encourage judges to face every odds, as well as continue in upholding the banner of justice, irrespective of any form of stains.
It is a known fact that, the Supreme Court of Justice in Nigeria was established in the year, 1963. Yet, the present form of the Nigerian supreme court was actually changed sometime at the beginning of the year, 1990.
However, it was in the year 1999, that the Supreme Court of Nigeria was given the Appeal Jurisdiction over every other court in the country.
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That is why, the supreme court of Nigeria is seen and known as the highest Appeal Court. The number one judge in the Supreme Court of Nigeria is the Chief Justice of Nigeria.
The supreme court of Nigeria is made up of 21 judges. Everyone of this judge is appointed by the President of the federal republic of Nigeria.
This appointment however is not honoured, until the National Judicial Council recommend it and then confirmed by the Senate.