The National Judicial Council (NJC) has been cautioned to always tread softy on matters of enforcing disciplinary action that would involve outright sacking of judges of courts of records.
The council which is the highest body saddled with the responsibility of disciplining erring judicial officers in the country was warned against throwing away the baby while carrying out its duties.
Justice Adamu Bello of the Federal High Court who issued warning in Abuja yesterday regretted that so many frivolous petitions were being written against judges by litigants on baseless ground.
The Judge who spoke at a valedictory to mark his retirement from the Federal Judiciary said that it was not enough to act against Judges without verifying adequately and discretely any petition that may arise against judges on the bench.
Justice Bello admitted that there could be bad eggs in the Judiciary of the country but affirmed his opinion that judiciary in the country is one of the best in the world.
He said that the valedictory season held at the Federal High Court complex that the judiciary has performed so well that it deserved to be commended and not condemned outright by those exercising their fundamental rights to freedom of expression.
“I am one of those who believe that the Nigerian Judiciary is among the best in the world. We may have our ups and downs and even harbour some bad eggs but that does not give any one the licence to lampoon the whole institution of the judiciary like is being done in this country”.
Our critics should tread softly and avoid undermining the whole institution of the judiciary while exercise their right to criticize for good reasons. The judiciary can and has always tried to sanitize itself through the instrumentality of the National Judicial Council (NJC) under the able leadership of the Honourable, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Mariam Aloma Mukhtar”.
“Other organs of government do not have such internal disciplinary control mechanism to deal with their erring officials. The judiciary therefore deserves commendation rather than condemnation”.
“The reforms being carried out by the NJC to improve on justice delivery is a step in the right direction but care must be taken when it comes to the discipline of judges, so that the baby is not thrown away with the bath water”.
“While it is right and proper for NJC to discipline erring judges, it should also intensify efforts to secure the welfare of judges and protect their tenure. It is only then that, judges can put in their best”.
Earlier, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Ndahi Auta had congratulated retired Justice Bello for leaving the Judiciary with his integrity, reputation and honour intact and prayed for his successful retirement life.
“Today we hand you over to your loving wife and children especially Your Lordship’s wife who now has all the time give Your Lordship the needed attention which the dictates of your career eluded her in the past. We hand you over to your family in good health and with your reputation intact. We urge them to ensure that you enjoy retirement peacefully.