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CJN warns new Abuja Chief Judge against abuse of office

By Eric Ikhilae, Abuja

The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Ibrahim Muhammad has warned the newly inaugurated Chief Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Justice Salisu Abdullahi, against engaging in acts capable of belittling the office.

The CJN particularly cautioned Justice Abdullahi against engaging in acts of vendetta, abuse of office, wrong application of the law and oath of office, among others.

Justice Muhammad spoke in Abuja on Monday while swearing-in Justice Abdullahi as the substantive Chief Judge of the High Court of the FCT.

He replaces Justice Ishaq Bello, who retired on January 5, 2021.

Justice Abdullahi has been on acting capacity since then.

The CJN, who attributed the delay in swearing-in Justice Abdullahi as the substantive Chief Judge of the FCT to the ongoing strike by a member of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), regretted the impact of the strike on-court activities.

Justice Muhammad said: “Impartiality, fairness, justice and equity must form the fulcrum of your administration so that your creator will be happy with you and history will reserve an enviable place for you even when you are gone and forgotten.

“You are expected to conduct your affairs within the ambit of the law and the oath that has just been administered on you; anything short of that will place you on a collision course with history and God will ask you the questions that you might not be confident enough to answer.

“This is not an occasion for long speeches or homily, because as a senior judicial officer, this is certainly not the first time you are taking an oath. So, you must have heard different admonitions on how to be upright and always live above reproach.

“With me sitting before you, I will confidently tell you that this is an oath like no other. I am saying this because as the Chief Justice of Nigeria, I will not condone any act of recklessness, abuse of power and public trust; and above all, the misuse of God-endowed opportunities.

“You should count yourself fortunate to be so entrusted with this humongous responsibility of presiding over the affairs of the FCT Judiciary.

“I should remind Your Lordship that trust is a burden and you must discharge it with utmost sincerity, honesty and transparency, as conscience is an open wound which only truth can heal.

“You must resolutely rise and operate above every sentiment that might play out in the course of your tenure.

“I have a personal and official knowledge of my lord for a very long time as a studious and visionary judicial officer and I am absolutely confident that nothing contrary shall steer us in the face by virtue of this new status.

“I therefore beseech you to bring these inherent qualities to bear on your new position and never see it as an opportunity to suppress, oppress, repress or settle scores with known or imaginary enemies.

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“You must not embark on any voyage of vendetta because your new position is not only a test of your ingenuity and administrative prowess but equally, a window to peep and clearly gauge your level of tolerance and human relations.

“There is no doubt that temptations, tribulations, intimidation and even sheer blackmails may be freely unleashed on you but as a thoroughbred judicial officer that I have known you to be, you must guide your loins to rise above such fleeting but temper-torching moments and do what will earn you accolades in the court of public opinions.

“There is no mountain too high to scale; and there is no goal too difficult to achieve as far as you have the firm resolve to attain higher heights in life and write your name in the sands of time.

“All eyes are on you and always remember that your conduct will be publicly dissected and thoroughly scrutinised.

“Do what is right in our law books and you will have your name etched in gold. Do what is at variance with your conscience and you will get a scar that will terminally dent your ascension to higher height in life.

“Be guided by good conscience and enjoy the best that the almighty God and the Nigerian Judiciary can offer you.”

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