By Ahmed Idriss
The Nigerian Senate has finally confirmed the appointment of Justice Walter Onnoghen as the substantive chief justice of Nigeria after a long delay and controversies.
The upper house of legislature held a confirmation hearing for the acting chief justice of Nigeria on Wednesday, March 1 inside its legislative chambers after much accusation by the citizenry on why Mr Onnoghen has not been confirm as a substantive chief Justice of Nigeria.
As the hearing began at about midday and ran for around one hour with Onnoghen introducing himself and fielding questions from the lawmakers on how he aims to improve on the activities of the Nigerian judiciary which he has been nominated by the president to head. The Senate expressed delight at Onnoghen’s nomination, noting that he was picked by the president after much deliberation, thus attesting to his character.
Senate president Senator Bukola Saraki, thereafter announced his name at the plenary, thereby putting to rest the perceived regional or tribal sentiments.
However, Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, said he would ensure the independence of the judiciary to check the rate of corruption in the country.
“I assure you that I will not compromise my integrity, and the independence of the judiciary will be re-enforced under my watch.
“I believe that you don’t need to see a judge before you have justice,” he said.
On cases of conflicting judgments, Onnoghen said that such was bound to happen because different processes were followed by judges.
“The system has its own regulatory mechanism through the means of appeal; that is how we resolve conflicting judgments.
“But, to think that we can do away with conflicting judgments is not possible,” he said.
Onnoghen said that it would be impossible for politicians “to pocket” the judiciary under his leadership, explaining that “the moment the judiciary is politicised, justice will be denied the common man’’.
He said that the judiciary was in the process of modernising its processes to meet with international best practices.
On the appointment of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) as Supreme court justices, he said that it was not the duty of Justices of the Supreme Court but the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee.