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THE Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN),
Justice Mahmud Mohammed, on Monday said the decision of the National Judicial
Council (NJC) to prevent judicial officers standing trial from performing
judicial functions, pending the determination of their investigation was to
preserve the independence of the judiciary of the country.

Speaking while swearing-in justices
Amina Augie and Justice Ejembi Eko into the office of Justice of the Supreme
Court, the CJN, who is also the chairman of the NJC said the decision to
suspend judicial officers from performing judicial function, if under
investigation, followed communications it received from the Attorney General of
the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN).

The AGF, he said, told the NJC that
he was embarking on the prosecution of the affected judicial officers to enable
them defend themselves in the allegations against them.

Justice Mohammed said the country
will suffer and true democracy will be undermined if the confidence in judges
of the nation’s court is undermined and the independence of the judiciary is eroded

The CJN, who said the two newly
justices are appointed to the Supreme Court 
at the time the judiciary is facing lots of challenges, expressed the
hope that they will adhere strictly to their oaths of allegiance to dispense Justice
without fear or favour.

“Now more than ever, it is
important to be firm, honest and steadfast in the discharge of your duties,
while striving to emulate the greats of this court by enthroning the rule of
law and respect for our courts,” the CJN said.

Justice Mohammed assured that the
Judiciary, as an arm of government will remain resolute in its commitment and
resolve to uphold its independence and adjudicate with utmost fairness and
justice as prescribed in the constitution and the law. He charged the new
justices of the Supreme Court and all judicial officers to be firm and honest
in the discharge of their judicial functions as this will have multiple effects
on the society.

“You must remain blind to
personality and status and remain the hope of all men, whether common or uncommon.
Hence, the integrity and impartiality of our courts must not be in question or
compromised,” he said.

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