The Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, says measures are being put in place to ensure that search or arrest warrants are issued with the approval of Chief Judges of respective States or the Federal High
Court in the country.
The CJN stated this at the commencement of the 2020/2021 legal year and the swearing in of new Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SAN, in Abuja.
This is coming after the recent invasion of Justice Mary Odili’s residence in Abuja, by persons suspected to be security operatives, who claimed to be acting on a search warrant purportedly obtained from an Abuja Magistrate Court.
The CJN who restated that the judiciary would no longer condone such an embarrassing and unlawful act, stressed that the time to oppress, suppress and intimidate judicial officers was far gone.
Justice Tanko who explained that even though the proposals of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act AJCA, was a boost to the criminal justice system in the country, the effective implementation of its provisions had remained a major clog in the wheel of progress.
Speaking on behalf of the new SANs, 91 year old Professor Oyewo Toriola said the rank conferred on them was a recognition of hard work.
The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, represented by the Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mr. Mohammed Umar was of the opinion that more deserving legal practitioners should be conferred the rank of SAN.
Responding on behalf of the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Professor Ben Nwabueze, said they were not opposed to deserving legal practitioners being conferred the rank of SAN while adding that judicial financial autonomy can not be overemphasized.
President, Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Olumide Akpata, who said the elevation to the rank of SAN was coming at a time when the profession and indeed the Justice sector was beset with many challenges expressed worry on purported attempts to denude the NBA.
The Governor of Ekiti State , Kayode Fayemi, described the invasion of Justice Mary Odili’s home as intimidation of the judiciary, while adding that Governors of the 36 States were committed to judicial financial autonomy.
Out of the 159 legal practitioners that applied for the rank of SAN this year, 72 were successful at the end of the rigorous exercise.
Ten out of this number are academics while 62 are Advocates.
By Victoria Abah