By: Wisdom Acka
Justces of the Court of Appeal have been charged to brace up for the tasks ahead.
This is to enable them deliver judgements in the 39,526 election petition cases pending before them.
FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, gave the charge on Monday while speaking at a ceremony to mark commencement of 2023/2024 Legal year of the Court at its headquarters in Abuja.
He pointed that a lot of industry was required in hearing and determining the numerous appeals, as the public has tremendous faith in the decisions of the Court.
His words: “My Lord Justices, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, there is no doubt that the previous legal year has been tasking and demanding due to the 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.”
“I commend the President of the Court of Appeal for the nine Justices that were recently sworn-in by My Lord, the Chief Justice of Nigeria. This will undoubtedly go a long way in reducing the workload on the Justices of the Court and enhancing justice delivery in the country,” he said.
“My Lords, another legal year has come and this year is particularly unique because of the election appeals, which I earlier alluded to,” the Minister added.
Wike stressed that the opening of a Legal Year is much more than an ancient tradition; stating that it was rather a practice in pursuit of justice and the upholding of the rule of law.
“This is so because it affords this Honourable Court the opportunity to reflect on its successes and challenges in the previous year with a view to celebrating those successes and working towards providing solutions to the challenges and also projecting into the New Year,” he reiterated.
“Today’s event is therefore 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”, he affirmed.
While recognising that a strong and independent judiciary was central to the preservation of justice, Wike implored the judiciary to stand by the FCT Administration in its quest to implement reforms that would not only restore the glory of the FCT, but also make it a source of pride for every Nigerian.
President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Mensen, however, decried the outrageous number of appeals pending at the appellate court.
Justice Mensen disclosed that a total number of 39,526 cases were pending as at 31st of August, 2023, representing an increase from 34,037.
According to her, “The Court still has a total of 39,526 Appeals pending as at 31th of August, 2023”.
“This is an increase from 34,037 pending in the Court in the 2021/2022 Legal Year”، Justice Dongban Mensen stated.