Appeal Court judge warns against indecisiveness in delivering judgments

Tunde Akanbi, Ilorin.

A Justice of the Court of Appeal, Benin Division, Justice Mudashiru Nasiru Oniyangi has cautioned Judges and Magistrates to guide against indecisiveness in delivering judgments which may be informed by corruption and cowardice.

Justice Oniyangi gave the warning in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital while delivering a paper title “The Law and Art of Judgment Writing at the one day end of year interactive session organized by the Kwara state branch of the Magistrates Association of Nigeria (MAN).

The jurist urged all judicial officers to allow their decisions to be free from all corrupt indices and should be upright in their judgment, explaining that the era of lengthy judgments were gone.

Justice Oniyangi enjoined judges and magistrates to endeavor to write their judgments when the fact of the matter was still fresh in their memory and avoid delays as it might make them lose track of the fact of the case and demeanor of witnesses.

He added that a corrupt judge or magistrate who has taken a bribe in the course of adjudication is like a “raging lion, fierce, unstoppable , blind to reason, insensitive to emotion or conscience. “

According to him, what justice demands is equality of treatment to all people, in accordance with law in all cases, no matter their economic status, while there should be no different justices for the rich and the poor.

Justice Oniyangi said that the time of analogue was over and stressed that judgement swould be safe and free from any form of leakages pending delivery, adding that the benefit of being computer illiterate could not be overemphasized, and also enjoined judicial officers to endeavor to record evidence correctly.

“To my mind, the taking of evidence is mainly to do justice as between the parties to a cause. Endeavour to record evidence correctly. It is my advice that at the time if recording evidence, don’t forget to note the impressionable acts or omissions of witnesses and their demeanor because it would assist in no small measure in discharging the sacred and task full duty of judgment writing.”

The jurist cautioned against delay in the dispensation of Justice as such actions had received a sledge hammer punishment of compulsory retirement of some judicial officers and urged them to deliver their judgments and rulings in the open courts.

In his message, the Presiding Justice, Court of Appeal, Sokoto Division, Justice Hussein Mukhtar appealed to judges and magistrates to strive to achieve excellence in their onerous task of adjudication with transparent honesty, competence, inspiration and commitment to the selfless service of the people without fear nor favour.

He suggested that information technology be encouraged and expanded to cover all the federal and state courts both superior and inferior.

Justice Mukhtar urged judges and magistrates to limit their pronouncement and consequential orders to’ reliefs’ asked by the victorious parties.