The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen has condemned last Friday’s reported attack on courts and judicial workers in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State.
Onnoghen warned that such attach on the Judiciary was not only a signed on grave moral depravity among political actors, but a major threat to the nation’s democracy.
The CJN however assured that the Judiciary will not succumb to intimidation and was determined, more than ever before, to dispense justice with the required speed, particularly political matters.
Onnghen, in a statement issued Monday by his spokesman, Awassam Bassey, praised security agencies for preventing a major break down of law and order.
The CJN said, from report, the Port-Harcourt attack was aimed at stopping the court from sitting and delivering a ruling in an intra-party dispute of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in respect of the Local Government congresses of the party in the state.
The CJN, who noted with concern that this magnitude of violence could be visited on the Judiciary during a Ward/Local Government intra-party primary election, wondered what the situation would be during the forthcoming general elections in 2019.
Part of the statement reads: “This latest act of intimidation of the judiciary and the unwarranted violence against a peaceful institution of an arm of government is quite disturbing.
“More importantly, such show of shame ought not to be encouraged by right thinking members of the Nigerian public.
If the enemies of our peace and democracy succeed or get away with what occurred at the High Court in Port-Harcourt, it would be a source of encouragement to them to do same to the court of Appeal, and ultimately, the Supreme Court of Nigeria, whenever any one of them perceives that a judgment may be delivered against any of them or the interests they represent.
“The Judiciary remains the last hope of man, and our judges and judicial officers are called upon to remain true to their oath of office.
“They must remain focused, resolute, and courageous, regardless of the effort at intimidating them.
“The Nigerian public is urged to continue to have faith in the Judiciary of the nation.
“Any person with a legitimate complaint against another person, organisation or institution is advised to employ the civilised and legal mode of redress as contained and guaranteed by our Constitution.
“Whoever is dissatisfied with the outcome of decisions of our courts of law has the right of appeal as constitutionally guaranteed. The Judiciary will never fail in its duties.
“Violence, the type visited on the Judiciary of Rivers State is alien to any civilised society and therefore condemnable.”