I welcome all judicial officers, legal practitioners, judiciary workers and court users to the 2017/2018 Legal Year of the various courts in the country. I congratulate the entire members of the Judiciary especially the various heads of court on a successful completion of the 2016/2017 legal year. It was yet another year of visionary and dynamic leadership, positive changes and innovation by the leadership of the judiciary. It was also a year of near-misses with great opportunities to improve on the justice delivery system and boost confidence in the ability of our courts to dispense justice.
The judiciary has been widely praised for its assiduousness, the intellectual virtuosity various judicial officers brought to their assignments and above all for the high level of integrity they brought to bear in the discharge of their judicial functions. Amidst the praise, the judiciary had also been accused of corruption and being complicit in delays in the administration of justice. Notwithstanding all these, there is a consensus a lot more could still be done to improve the perception of the judiciary. This is because no matter how good anything or situation is, there is always room for improvement. I have no doubt the judiciary will address the criticisms over the undue delay in the disposal of criminal cases and appeals, undue indulgence of counsel who rely on technicalities to delay trials, abuse of judicial process, the not-so-fast pace of appellate cases etc to mention a few.
The legal year ceremony taking place tomorrow at the Supreme Court is crucial for divergent reasons. The ceremony which marks the commencement of legal business will also provide opportunity for a critical evaluation of administration of justice as well as laying blueprints for the future. It will also be a special occasion for the elevation of distinguished practitioners to the inner Bar.
I congratulate the new Senior Advocates of Nigeria on their well-deserved admission into the inner Bar. It is a praiseworthy privilege that comes with herculean responsibilities. Keep the flag flying and never cease serving as role models. May Almighty God continually give you the astuteness needed for the discharge of the onerous responsibility of the rank as well as crown all your efforts with resounding success
Distinguished colleagues, I pray we will always uphold the cause of Justice in our dealings as lawyers. Let us bear in mind that the society looks up to us especially in these trying period in our country. We are the ambassadors of nation building let us carry out our duties bearing in mind that we are symbols of Justice, Equity and Rule of law.
I welcome you all to this legal year and wish us all, a great, fulfilling, visionary, dynamic, and ground-breaking 2017/18 legal year
Mazi Afam Osigwe
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