The Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Ishaq Bello, said on Monday that a total of 13, 961 out of 30, 582 cases was disposed in 2018/2019 legal year.
Mr Bello disclosed this in Abuja at an event to mark the commencement of New Legal Year for 2019/2020.
He said the total case load in 2018/2019 is 30, 582, 16, 396 are fresh cases and 14, 186 are carried over from 2017/2018 legal year.
“In total, 13, 961 were disposed; this is an indication of our ever increasing case load.
“From the statistics available, on the average, a court has about 850 cases in its docket and about 387 cases decided per judge,” he said.
Mr Bello further disclosed that at the Magistrate level, 11, 969 cases were disposed out of 21, 108.
He stressed the need to complement efforts of the judges and magistrates to meet the huge workload.
Mr Bello noted also that from the Sharia Court of Appeal (SCA) 223 cases were registered and 206 were disposed that is 92 per cent, with 17 pending.
He said the total cases at the Area Courts, are 9,682 and 6,579 carried over from 2017/2018 legal year, bringing the overall caseload to 16, 261, with 9,906 disposed.
He added that at the Customary Court of Appeal had 664 cases out of which 566 were disposed, at the Customary Court 1180 of which 1115 were disposed.
The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Paul Usoro (SAN), represented by A.T Kehinde (SAN), said the partnership between the Bench and the Bar should not be stained by external forces.
He said it should be remembered that both the Bar and Bench are from the same parents.
He added that without the bar there would be no bench and the Bar would be emasculated.
“Therefore, the synergy between us must continue for the delivery of justice that would be obvious to the ordinary man on the street.
“The bench, it is noted, has been under trial from the media, security agencies and the public, who do not even understand the modus operandi of the Bench, ‘’ he said.
Mr Usoro, said unfortunately the Bench has no voice to defend itself and that the Bar should stand in its defence.
Speaking for the body of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Abuja branch, Chris Uche (SAN), said independence of the judiciary was necessary.
He said the body sought to lend its voice to the issue that is of great concern in the profession, “that is the independence of the judiciary as an indispensable component of the Rule of Law”.
Mr Uche said there was no gainsaying the fact that the judiciary in Nigeria was undergoing very trying times.
He added that the general feeling was that the judiciary was under a siege, noting that this year had been quite challenging.
“We attended the International Bar Association Conference in Seoul, and our major takeaway was the showcase symposium on the Rule of Law, which had such huge message for Nigeria.
“The focus was on the assault by some governments around the world on the rule of law and attacks on the independence of the judiciary and of the legal profession,’’ he said.