We”ll address accommodation challenges of justices in FCT – Wike

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FCT Minister, Mr Nyesom Wike, addressing the opening of the 2023/2024 Legal Year of the Court of Appeal, in Abuja on Monday.

FCT Minister, Mr Nyesom Wike, promised in Abuja on Monday to address accommodation challenges faced by justices in the territory.

Wike made the promise at the opening of the 2023/2024 Legal Year ceremony of the Court of Appeal.

“We are not unaware of challenges confronting justices of this honourable court in the FCT, especially the problem associated with their accommodation.

“We will look closely at this matter to see how it can be best mitigated,’’ the minister said.

He added that Nigerians would continue to rely on the Judiciary as a bastion of justice and an arbiter of disputes.

He described the Judiciary tier of government as critical to President Bola Tinubu’s “Renewed Hope’’ agenda.

The minister also reiterated FCT Administration’s commitment to implementing reforms that would restore the glory of the territory and make it a source of pride for every Nigerian.

“As we diligently work towards realising this vision of rejuvenating the FCT, we implore the Judiciary to stand beside us in this quest.

“Your Lordships, we recognise that a strong and independent Judiciary is pivotal to the preservation of justice; the protection of citizens’ rights, and the overall wellbeing of our society.

“Therefore, we are resolute in our determination to provide the necessary support to ensure the efficient functioning of the Court,’’ he said.

Wike commended the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, for the nine justices that were recently sworn in.

This, according to him, will go a long way in reducing the workload on the justices of the court and enhancing justice delivery.

He noted that the ceremony afforded the court the opportunity to reflect on its successes and challenges in the previous year.

He said it also afforded the court to celebrate those successes; work towards providing solutions to challenges and project into the new Legal Year.

“Today’s event is not just a ceremonial milestone; it is a testament to the enduring commitment of our legal fraternity to the pursuit of justice and the upholding of the rule of law.

“There is no doubt that the previous Legal Year had been tasking because of numerous pre-election matters which gave birth to appeals from interlocutory decisions and final decisions of the Federal High Courts.

“This year might not be different in view of the numerous pending election appeals,’’ he said.

Wike noted that the Court of Appeal was the final court for appeals arising from national and states Houses of Assembly election tribunals.

He stressed that the public had tremendous faith in the decisions of the court, adding that the court equally has a responsibility to live up to that trust.

Earlier, the president of the appellate court, Dongban-Mensen, said 39,526 appeal cases were pending at the court as at Aug. 31.

She added that the figure added to the pending 34,037 cases in the 2021/2022 Legal Year.

She assured the public that the court would continue to discharge its responsibilities by ensuring that appeals were heard timeously with utmost dedication, commitment, and diligence.

In his remarks, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), promised that the Tinubu administration would address the issue of shortage of justices at the Appeal and Supreme Courts.