From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen has charged judges to be above board and defend the integrity and independence of the Judiciary in the discharge of their duties.
Justice Onnoghen noted that the failure to defend the third arm of government would mean failing the citizens who have placed their hope in the judiciary for fair and equitable dispensation of justice. He gave the admonition, yesterday, when he administered the oath of office on two newly-appointed Justices of the Supreme Court, Justices Paul Galinje and Sidi Bage. A month ago, two new Justices were also sworn-in on the bench of the apex court. They are Justices Amina Augie and Ejembi Eko.
Congratulating the new Justices on their elevation, Justice Onnoghen charged them to strive at all times to be faithful to their oath of office and allegiance.
Meanwhile, Onnoghen has called for a close working relation between the media and the Judiciary for the survival and development of a mature democracy.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 2016 workshop for Judiciary Correspondents, in Abuja, yesterday, Justice Onnoghen noted that a free press is the most potent evidence of a mature democratic government.
“In countries with enduring democracy, freedom of the press is usually upheld as a veritable tool in shaping opinions and influencing policies. It also acts as an effective check on the excess of government by highlighting it’s shortcomings in meeting it’s statutory obligations as well as in its achievements.”
Onnoghen was optimistic that given its freedom, the press can bears the brunt of speaking the truth adding that this will occasionally brings it into divergence with various arms of government.
On the independence of the judiciary, the Acting CJN said it was important in order to preserve and protect it integrity.
“The judiciary is the foundation of the rule of law in any society. If that foundation is threatened in any way, including threat to its independence, there cannot be a viable democracy.
“Therefore, for our evolving democracy to be fully entrenched and enduring, the press must partner with the judiciary in the performance of this very crucial role. The press must be in the forefront of educating the public on the workings of our courts and our justice delivery system.”
Speaking earlier, the Administrator of the National Judicial Institute (NJI), Justice Roseline Bozimo (rted), explained that the workshop was organized to enrich the knowledge of participants and create new avenue to garner the requisite information as it relates to your work as judiciary correspondents.
She noted that the theme of the workshop “Empowering Judiciary Correspondents for Effective and Efficient Reportage” was tailored towards equipping participants the necessary skills, knowledge and expertise required for effective and efficient reportage.