Supreme Court justices not above errors, says CJN

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, has said Supreme Court justices are human beings and human beings will always make mistakes.

According to a statement by the apex court’s Director of Press and Information, Dr Festus Akande, Justice Muhammad stated this during a courtesy visit to the Supreme Court by members of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria on Tuesday.

He was quoted as saying, “We can’t claim to know it all. We are still learning because learning, as we all know, is continuum. Our doors are wide open for constructive criticisms. Even our grammar, punctuations have to be corrected to avoid any error in the rulings and judgments we give.”

According to the CJN, what every right-thinking judge needs to do is to cultivate the culture of patience and acceptability so they do not erroneously assume to be a repository of knowledge and wisdom.

Justice Muhammad said, “The rules provide that each judge should give their own independent judgment but they are equally at liberty to adopt what has been offered.

“(There is) no coercion, no intimidation and no compelling force to make any judge align with the opinions and views of others. We are very free to maintain our stance and even present a dissenting judgement if we feel opposed to a popular view.”

He said although he had not had the opportunity of reading the 2019 AMCON Amendment Act, from the presentation made by the visiting team, he was convinced that a thorough job had been done.

He, however, expressed concern over the “poor law enforcement mechanism” put in place in the country, which he said had largely slowed down the wheel of justice.

Justice Muhammad stated, “The problem has to do with law enforcement, especially where it touches on financial and property matters. The task before you is not a small one.”

He complained that the 60 days prescribed by the 2019 AMCON Amendment Act for the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court to hear appeals on the corporation’s matters was too short and limited for the justices to do a thorough work, as they always carried out intensive research on every matter before arriving at the right decision.

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of AMCON, Mr Ahmed Kuru, expressed the appreciation of the corporation for the willingness of the court and justices to assist them at every given opportunity.

Kuru said the inputs from the previous interactions and the last meeting with the justices of the court were incorporated into the 2019 AMCON Amendment Act.