Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, has once again brought to the fore the indiscriminate issuance of injunctive orders by courts across the country, warning that such acts continue to erode public confidence in the country’s judiciary. Muhammad recalled that the reckless granting of ex parte orders reached a worrisome height recently, and he had to warn some judges to desist from such conduct.

Muhammad made the assertions yesterday during the swearing in ceremony for Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf as the substantive Chief Judge (CJ) of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, which held at the Supreme Court complex, Abuja.

The CJN took a swipe at the judges and lawyers who went about forum shopping, cautioning that their actions could bring down not only the judiciary, but also the entire nation.

He stated, “An occasion like this may be auspicious for self-assessment. It is by co-incidence that this event comes at a time the Nigerian Bar Association is holding its 61st Annual General Conference tagged: ‘Taking The Lead’.

“The legal profession should, indeed, take the lead in all human affairs. However, the lead is at a price. We cannot take the lead when our courts issue ex-parte orders recklessly.

“We cannot take the lead when many litigants with support of their counsel engage in forum shopping. We cannot take the lead when counsels file a case before a court that they know lacks jurisdiction and the judge proceeds to hear the case. We cannot take the lead when counsel files frivolous cases in our courts just for nuisance value or to buy time.”

To stem the tide, the CJN stated that the judiciary must not only do self-assessment, but also needed self-cleansing, adding that all hands must be on deck from both the Bar and the Bench to rid the legal profession of bad eggs.

He said, “The legal profession is the building under which we are sheltered. If we fold our hands and watch others destroy it or we participate in the destruction, it will collapse on us. We will then have no roof over our heads. May God forbid!”

While congratulating Justice Baba-Yusuf on his appointment, the CJN prayed to God to guide, protect and assist him in the discharge of his duty as head of court.

He told Baba-Yusuf that as head of court, his burden had become heavier.

“You should, therefore, take charge and ensure that you are just and fair to your brother judges, the management, staff, and, most importantly, to the litigants,” the CJN counselled the new FCT Chief Judge.

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