Trying Time For Judiciary, By Tanko Muhammad

• Swears in members of the 2019 Election Petition Tribunals

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The newly inaugurated Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, observed on yesterday that the country’s Judiciary was currently going through a trying time.
Muhammad urged all stakeholders, particularly members of the nation’s Judiciary to stand up against destructive forces and protect the honour and integrity of the judicial arm of government.

He spoke in Abuja on yesterday while administering oath of office on the 250 members of the 2019 Election Petition Tribunals.

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The members were sworn-in in one of the courtrooms of the Supreme Court. The event was Muhammad’s first official assignment since he was sworn-in on Friday by President Muhammadu Buhari, who also suspended the CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen.

Onnoghen and about 13 other Justices of the court, except Justice Dauda Sidi Bage, stayed away from the event.

Muhammad said: “The Judiciary is in a trying time. We must. And, I repeat, we must stand to protect and uphold the integrity of this arm of government. If any other person is trying to destroy it, we should try to protect it. If we don’t protect it ourselves, no one else will protect it for us.

“So therefore, it is our bounding duty to see that we protect the Judiciary wherever you find yourself,” he said.

To the newly inaugurated chairmen and members of the election tribunals, Muhammad said: “I congratulate you on this appointment. And I urge you to see this assignment as a call to duty and service to our nation.

“As you have all known, you have taken the oath of office as chairmen and members of election petition tribunals.

“Permit me to remind you that this oath taking is a solemn appeal to the Almighty God. Therefore, it is to God the Almighty, that you will, ultimately be responsible.

“It is from this oath the your duties and responsibilities as members and chairmen of the election petition tribunals, in your various places of assignment, spring forth and have a binding effect on each and everyone of you.

“This is an ethical undertaking, just as we should uphold the rule of law in our various courts and tribunals.

“As such, I implore you to discharge your onerous duties diligently and with the fear of the Almighty God.

“I implore you to uphold and enhance the honour and dignity of the Judiciary,” Muhammad said.

As against the usual practice of the court, only Muhammad and Justice Dauda Sidi Bage, serving Justices of the Supreme Court, were at the event that held for about 30 minutes.

Other Justices of the court, about 13 of them stayed away. No reason was given for their absence.

The President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa and President of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN), Justice Babatunde Adjumo were also in attendance.

The event, witnessed by many, commenced slightly after 2pm and ended before 3pm.

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