The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Honorable Justice John Tsoho has assured the Nigerian Bar Association Abuja Branch of his cooperation.
The Hauwa Shekarau led EXCO paid a courtesy visit to the Honorable Chief Judge as part of the move to get acquainted with all the heads of courts in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) following their inauguration by the Chief Judge of the FCT.
In addressing the Honourable CJ, FHC, the Chairman stated that the purpose for the courtesy visit is to introduce the EXCO and also have an opportunity to have a robust engagement with the Chief Judge of the Court as well as to see how they can work closely together for the enthronement of rule of law in Nigeria as well as the smooth running of the judicial sector in Nigeria particularly with reference to the FCT which is our main jurisdiction and territory.
Ms Hauwa Shekarau also stated that one of the topmost on the EXCO’s agenda is a robust engagement between the bar and the bench. The Chairman further stated that “there are certain issues that happen within the polity that the Court may not really have the opportunity to speak for itself. For that reason, the Bar is most adequately positioned to speak on behalf of the bench particularly when we see things going wrong.”
The Chairman also stated that the bar cannot be silent when the altar of justice is desecrated, and we swore an oath the day we were sworn in to respect the rule of law and respect the constitution of Nigeria and that of the NBA. And for that reason, my EXCO have the mandate of the NBA to go ahead and ensure that anytime the rule of law is desecrated we speak up and we intend to do that without fear or favor.
In her words, “We intend to continue to speak true to power because it is only when we do that that we can strengthen and encourage the democratic process in our country. And it is only then that we can be able to strengthen the rule of law and even though we are at the bar, we have what it takes to be able to work to protect the judicial arm of government which we are major stakeholders of.”
She also humbly requested that active consultation be resuscitated especially when it has to do with appointments of judicial officers or other positions as this will show that we are partners in the temple of justice and be able to ensure that there is a smooth working relationship between the Bar and the Bench.
The Chairman concluded by stating that the NBA is a major stakeholder that should be given their pride of place in activities that affect the Federal High Court. She also made a passionate appeal for support from the Hon. CJ, FHC in the building of the Bar Centre.
The Hon. CJ, FHC in response to the address of the Chairman NBA Abuja branch stated that the bar is the primary constituency of every judge we should endeavor to cooperate with each other to attain a common goal and that common goal is to ensure that the rule of law is enhanced and entrenched.
He further stated that lawyers have generally been recognized as trail blazers when it comes to advancing issues of rights related issues. And so, they shouldn’t relent in the pursuit of that objective and to that extent, in recent times, that responsibility has not really been pursued vigorously in our country sensibly because we have divided interests among the body of lawyers.
He commended the resolve of the EXCO to see to it that things take the proper course and ensure the rule of law thrives. He also stated that as stakeholders in the temple of justice there should always be a robust cooperation and maintenance of active consultation on issues of common interest on things that generally affect us as members and as a legal community.
He also assured the EXCO that the FHC will endeavor to involve the branch when issues involving appointments are contemplated. On issue of invitation to activities, he stated that it will amount to a serious omission or oversight if the FHC has to do anything and the bar is left out. In terms of recognizing the bar in our activities we have tried but it is good that we put that to heart.
Lastly, he stated that the FHC will support the project for the Bar Centre in the best way it can as the development of the branch translates to their development. In his words “I believe that we will continue to interact more closely and I assure you of our cooperation.”
The Vice Chairman of the branch, Chioma Onyenucheya-Uko, gave a vote of thanks stating that in light of the CJ, FHC’s assurances, the EXCO is also confident that they will enjoy his support.