CJN Ariwoola Vows To Crack Down on ‘errant’ Judges As Conflicting Court Orders Plague Judiciary

Chief Justice of Nigeria, Olukayode Ariwoola has launched a strong critique against the issuance of conflicting court orders, describing them as an “unpalatable cocktail” that undermines the justice system.

Speaking shortly after inaugurating 22 judges into the Court of Appeal Bench, the CJN expressed concern over the numerous frivolous interlocutory orders issued by various courts, stating that they continue to bring the judicial system into disrepute.

Ariwoola also vowed to take decisive action against the “errant judges” responsible for these rulings.

He said: “I have made it known at different fora that we have been treated to an unpalatable cocktail of misleading and conflicting judgments as well as frivolous interlocutory orders emanating from courts of coordinate jurisdictions, which have literally attempted to make a mockery of our judicial system and flagrantly desecrate the revered Temple of Justice.”

“Several cases of such abound across the length and breadth of the country. This is, largely, an embarrassment to our jurisprudence, and we will never handle it with levity.”

“Punitive measures must definitely be meted out to such erring Judges. We have already activated the process of reining-in such errant Judges with a view to making them face the consequence of their despicable and odious conduct.”

The Problem:

The Nigerian legal system has been grappling with a significant issue – the issuance of contradictory rulings by courts of supposedly equal jurisdiction. This can create immense confusion and undermine public trust in the judiciary. Businesses may be unsure which ruling to follow, and individuals caught in legal battles can face uncertainty and frustration.

CJN’s Response:

Justice Ariwoola’s strong words signal a clear intent to address this problem. He specifically criticized “frivolous interlocutory orders,” which are temporary rulings issued before a final judgment. The CJN believes these orders are contributing to the chaos.

“As Judicial Officers, we have to continually remind ourselves the fact that we are not occupying our respective positions to serve ourselves, but the Nigerian masses; and the best way we can serve them is by doing what will make them feel safe in our hands and also trust us to always deliver the right judgments that will not be tainted by sentiments, emotions or other clandestine considerations,” he explained.

Taking Action:

Ariwoola announced that the National Judicial Council (NJC), the body responsible for disciplining judges in Nigeria, has already begun the process of holding “errant judges” accountable for their “despicable and odious conduct.” The nature of these consequences remains to be seen, but could include reprimands, suspension, or even removal from the bench.