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Poor funding may turn Supreme Court to glorified high court – Former CJN, Onnoghen warns

A former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, has warned that unless the Supreme Court of Nigeria is adequa...


A former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, has warned that unless the Supreme Court of Nigeria is adequately funded, the apex Court may soon end up as a glorified High Court.


The immediate past CJN lamented that Justices of the apex court are suffering in silence since 2008 when their salaries and emoluments were last reviewed by the government.


Onnoghen, who spoke in Abuja, at a function on Thursday revealed that some Justices of the apex court still live in rented accommodations in unsuitable areas in the Federal Capital Territory.


Besides the poor residential accommodation issue, the former CJN explained that chambers of the Supreme Court Justices are unbefitting of their status and appealed that the court be properly funded to enable the Justices to perform optimally in a conducive atmosphere.


He recalled that while in office as CJN, he headed a team comprising the Attorney General of the Federation AGF as well as Solicitor General of the Federation SGF which prepared a new welfare scheme on the orders of the federal government and lamented that since his exit, the Welfare Scheme Report which would have enhanced the condition of service of the Justices had been jettisoned.


He, therefore, pleaded that funding of the judiciary be immediately looked into with a view to improving it because of the critical role of the judiciary in nation-building.


Maintaining that the Supreme Court is still being overworked with Justices bearing the brunt, Justice Onnoghen canvassed that appeal cases should not be assigned to the Supreme Court as of right but by leave of the court to eliminate congestion in the workload of the court.


“The Judiciary is not Nigeria’s problem but bad leadership. There must be a rethink on issues affecting the judiciary because, without a strong legal profession, you cannot talk of the rule of law”, he said.


He commended the organizer of the function, Mrs Ewuwuni Onnoghen-Theophilus and pleaded that youths be encouraged to enable them to contribute meaningfully to the general development of the country.

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