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Magistrate Court Integral, Critical Aspect Of Justice Institution — FCT CJ

The Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Justice Husseini Baba-Yusuf, has described the magistrate court as an integral and critical aspect of justice institution in Nigeria with shared responsibilities for dispensation of justice.

Justice Baba-Yusuf said this on Monday while declaring open a two-day workshop organised for magistrates in FCT by the Magistrates Association of Nigeria (MAN) with the theme, “Attaining global best practices in the FCT Magistracy: Challenges and solutions”.

According to the CJ, being a critical stakeholder in the dispensation of justice was an onerous task for FCT magistrates, considering their heavy docket as a result of the increasing number of cases in the Territory because of its growing population coupled with limited resources.

“It is beyond peradventure that the magistrate court is an integral and critical aspect of our justice institution with shared responsibilities for quick dispensation of justice.

“This is indeed an onerous task in view of the heavy docket of the magistrates who must of necessity contend with the increasing number of cases in the Federal Capital Territory as a result of growing population of the city coupled with limited resources,” the CJ said.

He submitted that in view of this, the magistrates walked a tight rope in view of the fact that they had to maintain best global practices with the obvious challenges associated with their job.

“In this type of atmosphere, the Magistrate walks a tight rope as he has to balance the obligation to maintain best global practices in his day to day activities with obvious challenges associated with his job. This is undoubtedly a tall task, nevertheless, there is no excuse for failure,” Baba-Yusuf submitted.

He thanked the organisers and development partners for raising the bar of qualitative justice dispensation in FCT through the workshop, saying that the FCT judiciary is a model judicial institution where nothing short of global best practices will suffice.

“I gladly identified with the programme taking into account that the FCT Judiciary is a model judicial institution where nothing short of global best practices will suffice in our collective strive for the attainment of justice through the instrumentality of our respective courts.

“Looking at this workshop from the above perspective, I am optimistic that the line-up of events will be of tremendous assistance to our magistrates in their quest to maintain and sustain global best practices in the art of adjudication of cases brought before them,” he said.

Earlier in his speech, the chairman, MAN FCT, Senior Magistrate Musa Abdulrazaq Eneye, informed that the workshop was geared towards equipping the magistrates with the necessary tools with which to function efficiently in all ramifications.

According to the chairman, “it goes without saying that our job is a high calling whence justice must be dispensed with the utmost regards to what is just, fair and legal.”

He asserted that magistrates would deliver their best when they are taken care of intellectually and welfare wise, adding that, “for it is then they can be held accountable for the use or misuse of the enormous powers bestowed on them.”

He, however, called for the amendment of Section 318 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, “so magistrates can be included as judicial officers.”

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