• Monday, July 15, 2024
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BusinessDay

Judiciary must be allowed to perform its role unhindered-  Ariwoola

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Olukayode Ariwoola, the Chief Justice of Nigeria has emphasized the need for the judiciary to be left alone to perform its constitutional role without interference.

Ariwioola stated while inaugurating the construction of the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal Complex on Wednesday in Abuja.

“All the judiciary needs is to be left alone to perform its role unhindered as much as possible. Once you take care of the judiciary, you’ve taken care of justice,” he said.

“Once you take care of the judiciary, you’ve taken care of justice. If you cry for peace anywhere in the world without justice, that can be no peace.

“We guarantee peace, we promise to ensure peace is given to whoever is due so that we can all enjoy peace. Justice is imperative. We promise we will always give justice.

Today marks a significant effort in breaking ground for constructing these spacious five-floor divisions. The headquarters remains central, yet the Court of Appeal’s division need not be confined to it, a change that is now underway.

We assure the minister that these facilities will be well-utilized. The FCT court also requires accommodations for its various branches. Both Magistrates and other courts need proper courtrooms and chambers.

“On behalf of the judiciary, we express our gratitude for this initiative. You’ve demonstrated that your legacy will benefit the Court of Appeal and the heads of various courts and other judicial bodies.

“I understand that even the apex court will not be forgotten. Although my board of Supreme Court justices is not present, they have asked me to convey their message to the honourable minister of the FCT. They emphasized that we have no other place to go beyond the FCT. We trust that both your administration and that of your superior will remember the apex court in the legacy being built for the judiciary.

Nyesom Wike, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT), in his remarks, revealed that the project would be executed at N37 billion, adding that N30 billion had been provided in the 2024 budget.

According to him, “will not be part of any projects of this nature that will take 2 years I will not be part of, this is one project that I have seen that is well covered in the budget, this project will cost us 37, billion naira but in the budget Mr President has provided 30, billion Naira.

He said that President Tinubu had approved the construction of the Appeal Court Complex, accommodation for judges and justices and retirement homes was a testament to the importance attached to the judiciary.

“There are things that must be done for us to get it right, and one of the things that must be done for this country to move forward is to put the judiciary where it is supposed to be.

He explained that the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dangban-Mensem had during the 2023 Legal Year requested for the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal and accommodation for judges.

He said: “I took the matter to President Tinubu, and he graciously approved.

“That there are three arms of government, the executive, the legislature and the judiciary, and all must be treated equally.”

The minister stressed that the project would be completed before September 2025, adding that he would not be a party to a project that would take more than two years to deliver.

The minister warned the contractor, Visible Construction, not to collect money and fail to deliver the job, saying “You have collected the first set of money, I don’t want to hear it has been raining.

“You collected the money when it was raining, so you must also do the job as it is raining.

“The contract was given to him to deliver in 16 months, but he promised to deliver between 12 and 13 months if funds are made available,” Wike said.

He added that President Tinubu had also approved the construction of 40 housing units for the accommodation of judges and justices.

He said that out of the 40 houses,10 would be allocated to the Court of Appeal, 10 to the Federal High Court and 20 to the FCT Courts.

He further said that Tinubu had equally approved the construction of retirement homes for judges and justices, beginning with the heads of courts.

“Mr President has approved the construction of retirement homes for the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, the Chief Judge of the FCT, the President of the Industrial Courts and the President of the Court of Appeal.

“The Chief Judge of FCT also requested for more courtrooms for the Magistrates in Maitama, Asokoro and Garki Districts.

“I want to assure you that the foundation of the accommodation and retirement homes will be laid in August and completed in September 2025.

Earlier, Shehu Ahmad, the Executive Secretary of, the Federal Capital Development Authority, explained that the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal was sited in Dakibiyu District.

Ahmad added that the complex was located within the vicinity of the Code of Conduct Bureau and the FCT High Court.

He said that the five-storey complex would consist of 10 courts consisting of 10 suites for the Justices, administrative offices for the Registrar, and support staff, and file rooms for storage of case documents.

Other facilities, he said, include conveniences and recess areas for the justices.

Also speaking, Dongban-Mensem thanked Wike and Tinubu for recognising the role of the Judiciary and taking steps to provide what it needs to perform its task.

“This marks a significant milestone in our collective commitment to strengthen the administration of justice in our great nation,” she said.