President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongben-Mensem, has said the court delivered a total of 7,295 judgments and 3,665 motions in the 2022/2023 legal year.
Speaking during a ceremony to commence the new legal year in Abuja, Justice Dongben-Mensen recalled that a total of 98 panels were constituted to hear election petitions across the country to handle a total of 1,209 petitions that were filed.
Among the petitions, she said five were filed at the presidential election petition court and have been concluded while some of 147 filed at the Senatorial election tribunal have been delivered and 417 petitions from the House of Representatives election are also being attended to.
The appellate court president also said a total of 557 petitions associated with the State Houses of Assembly, and 83 gubernatorial elections petitions are being disposed off, adding that 28 states participated in the governorship elections and petitions were filed in 24 states.
According to her, the Abuja division is currently overwhelmed by voluminous documents and suffers from a lack of adequate storage facilities and office space.
The president, therefore, appealed to the minister of the FCT to provide a large piece of land for the construction of the Abuja Division.
Also at the occasion, a former attorney general of the federation and minister of justice, Kanu Agabi (SAN), said Nigeria’s continued survival greatly depends on the transparency of judicial officers in the discharge of their judicial functions.
Agabi pleaded with Judges and Justices not to lose confidence and principles in themselves no matter the challenges.
The former AGF, who spoke on behalf of the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN) noted with great concern the contributions of judicial officers in the past years which he said, have kept the country intact and from chaos and anarchy.
Agabi noted that, despite the contributions and sacrifices of judicial officers to the survival of the country, they are still being attacked and criticized.
“It is only here that judicial officers work harder than slaves and yet, they are not appreciated. But the consolation is that the Judges in Nigeria are a match to the devil they are contending with.
“Whether we like it or not, we have to be proud of our Justices. They are brilliant and bold and some of them are appointed as Justices in other countries.
“A mistake by one Justice should not be generalized to warrant general condemnation from any quarter. They surpass Judges from other countries. They deserve commendation for resisting the evils.
“Majority of judicial officers are standing in the face of challenges and unless we are careful with the way we attack Judges, we will lose our minds and conscience”, he said.
In his speech, the AGF and Minister of Justice, Prince Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) said that President Bola Tinubu’s administration will address the issue of shortage of Justices at the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.
On his part, minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Nyesom Wike has admonished the judiciary to live up to public trust because Nigerians have tremendous faith in the decisions of the courts.
Wike made this call yesterday at the 2023/2024 Legal Year Ceremony of the Court of Appeal, held at the Ceremonial Court, Court of Appeal Headquarters in Abuja.
He said that as they continue on their path of rebuilding Nigeria under President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda, they will continue to rely on the judiciary as a bastion of justice and an arbiter of disputes to maintain stability, peace, and progress throughout our beloved country.