Magistrates in the country have been advised to show a high level of integrity in the dispensation of justice in line with their responsibilities as enshrined in the code of conduct for judicial officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The administrator of the National Judicial Institute (NJI), Justice Umaru Eri, gave the charge while delivering an address at a national workshop for magistrates, held at the institute, in Abuja, yesterday.
Eri said “The primary aim of the workshop is to reawaken the magistrates’ to their judicial responsibilities and the need to perform the enormous task of justice dispensation with integrity, candor and commitment, considering their importance in the wheel of justice and the workload as they handle 80 per cent of the cases filed in the nation’s court system which comprises civil and criminal matters.”
He added that the forum was essential as part of the continuing professional education that would tentatively create truly learned magistrates that would leave no stone unturned in justice dispensation in the nation’s lower courts.
Eri also counseled judicial officers to shun corruption in all its forms by continuing to support themselves during and after official working hours; to avoid receiving gifts; avoid abuse of power and indiscriminate remand of suspects, especially those relating to overnight cases, and try as much as possible to remain neutral and impartial at all times in the cause of discharging their constitutional duties.
He noted that while the judicial task in contemporary society was demanding and inexorable, the fact remained that as judicial officers, their judgements and rulings will always be tried in the court of public opinion and subjected to numerous criticism in the electronic and print media where their integrity would speak for them, either in the affirmative or negative terms, hence the need to be more dedicated to duties and dispense justice without fear or favour for the good of all and society.