The justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria have slammed the Chief Judge of Nigeria (CJN), Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad over his handling of the judiciary and its members.
In a leaked memo, the judges stated that budget allocated to the judiciary have not be increased in the past four years.
The justices of the Apex Court revealed that they decided to write Justice Tanko in a bid to preserve the dignity of the Judiciary.
The letter obtained by Peoples Gazette said: “We are serving this Country diligently and to the best of our ability. We resolve disputes between the Executive and the Legislature including all manner of disagreements, between governments and individuals…It would be a tragedy if the Nigerian Public were to know that we are unable to resolve our own problems internally without going public.
“The decision to write to you formally must be seen by Your Lordship as an effort on our part to preserve the dignity of the Judiciary and the respect accorded to us by Governments and people of Nigeria.”
While stating that there was a failure to replace dilapidated vehicles, accommodation problems, poor healthcare services at the Supreme Court clinic and poor electricity supply to the Supreme Court, the justices express fears over a potential shutdown of the judiciary.
They disclosed that an internal memo by the Chief Registrar notified judges that electricity would be supplied to the court between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. daily, due to the lack of diesel.
“The implication of this memo is that the Justices must finish their work and close before 4pm. Your Lordship with all due respect, this is the peak of the degeneration of the Court; it is the height of decadence, and clear evidence of the absence of probity and moral rectitude,” the justices wrote.
“Your Lordship, this act alone portends imminent danger to the survival of this Court and the Judiciary as an institution, which is gradually drifting to extinction.”
The judges also raised issues concerning the non-signing of amended Court Rules, abrupt stoppage of foreign workshops and training per annum for justices; and no provision of qualified legal assistants.
Sources revealed that trouble had emerged over the letter by the judges that was delivered early in June.
Speaking on the letter, Justice Tanko’s spokesperson, Ahuraka Isa, said the Chief Judge had addressed issues raised in the memo.
He said: “The memo written by the Supreme Court justices to the CJN complaining of their poor state of warfare was earlier expressed during their quarterly meeting held in March this year.
“The CJN was attending to the complaints before his colleagues decided to reduce the complaints into writing. They have been settled now and the apex court bench is calm.
“CJN is not the cause of Supreme Court justices’ financial woes but a collective woeful working condition. The CJN does not close from work till sometimes 7 to 8 pm. Meanwhile, most of the judges’ complaints have been attended to or have received adequate attention as they were made to know during their meeting with Justice Bage.”
Read letter below: