Chief Justice of Nigeria, (CJN), Ibrahim Tanko Mohammad, has cautioned Justices of the Supreme Court against dancing naked in the market square over the current state of affairs at the apex court.
While acknowledging the receipt of a letter written and addressed to him by his brother justices on issues bordering on their welfare and his competence, the CJN exonerated himself on the issues they raised.
The media space was recently awashed by reactions to the said letter to the CJN over their welfare, especially accommodation, vehicles, electricity tariff, supply of diesel, internet services to justices’ residences, training for justices and epileptic electricity supply to the court.
In a statement through his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Ahuraka Isah, yesterday, the CJN assured the public there was no crisis nor ill feelings among them.
He, however, expressed sadness that a matter which could have been addressed internally was allowed to become a subject of public discourse.
“Judges in all climes are to be seen and not heard, and that informed why the CJN refrained from joining issues until a letter said to be personal, is spreading across the length and breadth of the society. This was akin to dancing naked at the market square by us with the ripple effect of the said letter,” he said.
Mohammad said the Supreme Court does not exist outside its environment, and was also affected by the economic and socio-political climate prevailing in the country.
He said paucity of funds occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic marred the operations of the apex court, but that the apex court did not fail to live up to its constitutional responsibilities.
“When a budget is made, it contains two sides, that’s the recurrent and the capital, yet all the two are broken down into items. The Federal Government releases the budget based on the budget components. And it’s an offence to spend the money meant for one item for another. Take, for instance, the supreme court budgeted this year to re-roof and rehabilitate its complex built over 30 years ago and that is being done. The work on the extension of the complex is near completion, the aesthetic lawns and cleanness of the perimeters are being well kept, and security and water supply are adequately provided for his brother Justices in their offices and residences.
“During the period of pandemic, a profound and extra-care were maintained to avoid causalities among them as well as the staff generally. It would have amounted to an act of irresponsibility to divert money meant for the above for otherwise. The accusation so far, in summary, is that more or all ought to have been done and not that nothing has been done; which is utopian in the contemporary condition of our country.”
Responding to the allegation of not funding training, he said eight Supreme Court justices were nominated for a workshop in London two weeks ago and that they would be going in batches. He said accommodations are being gradually provided for the few judged yet to get them.