Niger Chief Judge warns lawyers against filing frivolous petitions
Members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Minna Branch have been told to desist from filing frivolous petitions against judicial officers, Chief Judge of Niger State, Justice Halima Ibrahim Abdulmalik has warned.
Addressing participants at the opening ceremony of the Minna Branch of the NBA annual law week held at the Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi International Conference Centre in Minna, Justice Halima Ibrahim noted that there was a consensus that the issue of corruption cannot be wished away.
She stated that the success of the administration of the justice system rests substantially on the independence of the judiciary, stating that it is a topical issue and on the front burner of our national discourse.
She noted that corruption allegations abound, whether real or a figment of the imagination of those making the allegations, stressing the need for a zero tolerance for corruption, which may rear its ugly head in any form or manner.
She called on the association to counsel participants on the need to key in to the effort, adding that "corruption, as we all know, is not limited to the illegal exchange of money for underserved favours.
"It also includes the failure of counsel to see to the prosecution of cases of his client with diligence and honesty," she added.
The chief judge admonished members of the bar to ensure that, in the course of prosecuting cases, they should strictly adhere to the etiquette and decorum expected from members of the profession.
She pointed out that the bar has been supportive of the bench, requesting the sustainability of the cooperation while noting that there has not been a history of animosity, "and I must commend the bar and its leadership for their supportive role."
"Our interaction has been candid and sincere. We are looking forward to the bar and bench fora in March this year and others in the subsequent quarters.
"Let me also remind the members of the bar of the existence of the multi-door courthouse and small claims court in the state," she explained.
According to the chief judge, the judiciary was making conscious efforts to provide a conducive environment for the administration of justice in the state despite the paucity of funds, disclosing that at the level of the Judicial Service Commission, "we have not abdicated from our responsibility to discipline erring judicial officers and judiciary staff.".
Earlier, the chairman of the Minna Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Barrister Mohammed Abdulkadir Waziri, described the judiciary as the life-wire of democracy, noting that it was unfortunate that the judiciary was on trial as it has been accused of exclusively working for the high and mighty in society.
According to the NBA Chairman, while judicial corruption was an impediment to the administration of justice in Nigeria, it was unfair to allege that the judiciary only works for the rich, stating that there were many instances where powerful and influential people have been convicted in the courts for various offences and some were still serving jail terms.
He pointed out that litigants, especially claimants, have a responsibility to prove their cases to entitle them to relief sought, insisting that this makes litigation technical and often necessitates engaging the services of a lawyer with attendant financial expenses.