The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen has urged Nigerians to live within the ambit of the law.
Justice Onnoghen was speaking at a banquet held in his honour at the Calabar International Conference Centre, Cross River State, southern Nigeria.
He appealed to the people, especially the political class, not to act with impunity, as it was inimical to the peace and unity of the nation.
“When we live by the law and not by impunity, the country moves forward. I encourage all Nigerians to shun the old ways of doing things and cooperate with the judiciary to serve our people better,” Onnoghen remarked.
He urged “every Nigerian, home and abroad, to try and live within the confines of the law of the land and constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. If we are able to do just that, we will be sure of ensuring that peace and unity reigns in the country.”
Onnoghen, who expressed profound appreciation to the State Government and people for the honour, pledged commitment to transform the judiciary for the peoples’ benefit.
According to him, “it is a pleasure to be home and to keep this appointment with history. I have no regret in service to humanity and my country. I will urge you all to continue to pray for me and for our dear country Nigeria.”
Justice Onnoghen, who received a custom produced Holy Bible and a gold plate from the Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State, said “I wanted to become a lawyer at all cost, but never wanted to be a judge. That decision was made for me and I thank God.”
Governor Ayade, while presenting gifts to Justice Onnoghen, prayed God to grant the Chief Justice of Nigeria the “wisdom to discharge his responsibility with the fear of God; with equity and fairness irrespective of tribe, cultural affinity or religion of anyone”.
The occasion was attended by justices of the Supreme Court, Senior Advocates of Nigeria as well as the Governor of Niger state, Abubakar Sani Bello; his deputy, Ahmed Muhammad Ketso and the former governors of Cross River state, Mr. Donald Duke and Senator Liyel Imoke.
Others at the event were the Chairman of Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEV and former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Victor Attah; Afenifere’s Yinka Odumakin; the former Minister of Labour and Productivity and Ndigbo representative, Emeka Wogu; Captains of Industry as well as a cross section of Cross Riverians.