The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, has charged judges in Nigeria not to allow criminals to escape justice on mere technicalities in matters brought before them.
The CJN told judges to do thorough justice to all matters so that trust and confidence in the judiciary can be sustained by litigants and the entire citizenry.
He spoke on Monday, at the opening ceremony of the 2021 national workshop for investigators and prosecutors, organised by the National Judicial Institute (NJI) in Abuja.
According to the CJN, who is also the NJI chairman, “it is often painful to see offenders walk away on technicalities just because due diligence was not observed during an investigation or in the course of the trial.
“To this end, your respective responsibilities have a lasting impact on the peace, security and stability of this nation, flowing from the fact that the presence or absence of undesirable elements in the society is firmly situated within your day-to-day activities and the powers conferred on you via different legislations.
“Therefore, failure to diligently investigate and prosecute can further endanger victims, witnesses, and other vulnerable persons.
“I have no doubt that this workshop will identify aspects that require improvement and through this, form a network aimed at promoting cooperation among stakeholders in the criminal justice sector.”
Earlier in his remarks, the NJI Administrator, Justice Salisu Garba (Rtd), charged Nigerians to be proactive, bold and avoid technicalities while administering justice on matters brought before them by aggrieved citizens.
“I must not fail to emphasize the need for judges in this country to be proactive, by not allowing technicalities to stand in the way of substantive justice to aggrieved people.
“The judiciary is saddled with the responsibility of upholding the Rule of Law by interpreting and applying the relevant laws and this we will do to the best of our ability,” Justice Garba stated.
The NJI boss said, the workshop, titled, “promoting uniformity in the criminal justice system”, will enrich the capacity of investigators and prosecutors towards the implementation of a laudable piece of legislation: the Violation Against Persons (Prohibition) Act 2015, ” which have given respite to criminal trials in the justice sector.
“It is pertinent for the participants as Investigators and Prosecutors to be abreast with the legislations required to prosecute perpetrators of devious acts in our society,” he said and added that discussions bordering on the overview of the Terrorism Prevention Act 2011 as amended in 2013 will be on the front burner at the workshop.