The minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike has asked the judiciary to support him as he carries out reforms in the FCT Administration.
Speaking at the ceremonies marking the commencement of the 2023/2024 Legal Year of the Court of Appeal in Abuja yesterday, September 25, the minister said: “here in the FCT, we are fully committed to implementing certain reforms that will not only restore the glory of the Federal Capital Territory but also make it a source of pride for every Nigerian.
“And as we diligently work towards realizing this vision of rejuvenating the FCT, we implore the judiciary to also stand beside us in this quest.”
Wike stressed the importance of a strong and independent judiciary as it affects the preservation of justice, protection of citizens’ rights and the overall wellbeing of the society and assured that his Administration will continue to provide the necessary support to promote the efficient functioning of the court.
The Minister expressed the resolve of the Administration to address some of the accommodation challenges confronting Appeal Court Justices in the capital city.
“We recognize that a strong and independent judiciary is pivotal to the preservation of justice, the protection of citizens’ rights, and the overall wellbeing of our society. Therefore, we are resolute in our determination to provide the necessary support to ensure the efficient functioning of the Court.
“We are not unaware of some of the challenges confronting the justices of this Honourable Court in the FCT, especially the problems associated with their accommodation.
“We will look closely at this matter and see how it can best be mitigated.”
He said that the Appeal Court has a huge task ahead as the final Court for appeals arising from the National and State Houses of Assembly Election Tribunals, adding a lot of industry is required while hearing and determining these appeals.
Wike charged the court of appeal to live up to the trust and tremendous faith in the decisions of the court by members of the public.
“By virtue of Section 246(3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), this court is the final Court for appeals arising from the National and State Houses of Assembly Election Tribunals.
“This implies that a lot of industry is required while hearing and determining these appeals. The public has tremendous faith in the decisions of this Court and the Court has a responsibility to live up to that trust.”
On the need for peace and stability in the country as President Bola Ahmed Tinubu drives the renewed hope agenda, the Minister said that the judiciary, as a bastion of justice and an arbiter of disputes, has a role to play in maintaining stability, peace, and progress throughout the country.
In her remarks, the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Bolna’an Dongban-Mensem, said that the special court session is designed to not only reflect on the achievements and challenges of the past year, but to set sights on the path ahead and recommit to the ideals of fairness, equity and the delivery of justice.
Justice Dongban-Mensem who described the legal profession as the bedrock of the nation’s social, economic and political coherence, said that the Court of Appeal will harness the potential of technology, fortify the capacities of staff and deepen its tireless devotion in the discharge of its constitutional mandate in the new legal year.
She charged the Bar to uphold the role of legal custodians and refrain from dubious tactics that could hinder progress and sabotage national interest.
Speaking at the event, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, stressed the need for quick dispensation of Justice so as to decongest the court of pending cases.
He expressed concern over the plight of judiciary workers in terms of poor remuneration, saying that the issue is being addressed with the aim of finding a lasting solution soon.