By Efa Sunday; Government House Correspondent
The Cross River State Judicial Council has sworn in Eighteen Chief Magistrates, Eleven Senior Magistrates and Eight Magistrates to perform a higher judicial functions in the State.
The swearing in ceremony took place Friday morning at the Judiciary Headquarters, Calabar, the Cross River State Capital.
The Cross River State Chief Judge, Justice Michael Edem admonished the newly sworn in to uphold the tenets of the law profession without fear or favour.
He said; “I want you all today to know that the Judiciary is the custodian of the law, therefore it is important for you to uphold and defend the law without being compromised at any point.
“It is not new anymore that nine out of ten who apply to be members of the bench, do that based on corrosive corruption. However, justice is the pillar of law and it must be served to whosoever is concerned, whether rich or poor, big or small.
Justice Edem also admonished the fresh bench members not to be partisan, especially as it is a period of heated electioneering.
“I want to use this opportunity again to warn you to be neutral and fair as possible. Do not be found to be a lover of any political party or it’s candidate. When you do this, you automatically become shortsighted and it will not allow you judge issue with all sense of fairness.” He said.
He went ahead to appeal to those who were not shortlisted for the appointment not to relent, stating that their disapproval may be as a result of “late submission of application, failure to be recommended by any Senior colleague, have not gotten the number of publication required to earn them the approval or has not attain the number of practice as a Lawyer.”
The Honourable Justice however called on all the elected to be hardworking towards the discharge of their responsibility, saying that “being a member of the bench is not a place to relax.”
Also, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Barrister Mba Ukweni, while addressing the elected, urged them to shun corruption and uphold the oath of office as sworn by each of them.
Barr. Ukweni who was commenting on the most recent controversy trailing the judicial system, the case of Honourable Justice Walter Onnoghen said “though the country is in a trying moment and a tense situation, however, we are not apologetic defending the judiciary and the law profession.
“This country remains Nigeria because of the judiciary. Without the judiciary Nigeria would have failed and collapsed. We are the custodians and interpreters of the law. Without us the other two arms, that is the Legislature and the Executive cannot stand firmly,” he said.
Bearing his mind on what he called “encroachment of the Executive in the Judiciary”, he maintained; “When the Executive arm is encroaching into the domain of the Judiciary, they should better be warned and told that they are not the strongest in Nigeria.”
While rendering the acceptance and Thanksgiving speech on behalf of the newly confirmed, Magistrate Edmond Ujong appreciated the Chief Judge and members of the Judicial Council, as well as Governing Council for the appointment and subsequent approved, promising to uphold the tenets and principles of the profession to deliver the dividends of democracy.
Highlight of the event was the taking of oath of office by the thirty seven members, and photography.
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