Ahead of the 2023 general elections, retiring Chief Judge of Kwara State, Justice Durosinlorun Kawu, has warned the judges and lawyers nationwide to remain neutral and impartial to refute the general condemnation of the judiciary as corrupt.
Speaking on Wednesday in Ilorin at the special session of the High Court to mark the commencement of the 2022/2023 legal year and his retirement as the Chief Judge of the state Justice Kawu said that the legal practitioners must send a clear and strong message to the public that judges are not for or against any political party or politician.
“Let us all remind ourselves that we are once again approaching an election year when serious legal proceedings will begin to play out in our various courts and Judges will be called upon to decide delicate issues couched by advocates in flowery legal garbs, with far-reaching political consequences.
“As Judges we must stay out of the fray, remain neutral and impartial.
"We must send a clear and strong message to the public that Judges are not for or against any political party or politician and that when cases are brought before us, parties must convince the court, not that they have deep pockets or contacts but that their cause is lawful and just.
"As members of the legal profession, we must prove ourselves to be men and women of honour, integrity and discipline by strictly adhering to our Code of Conduct and Rules of professional ethics.
"Because the administration of justice is too important to democracy and indeed to the very existence of the society, the time has come for us now more than ever before to apply the needed disciplinary measures against erring members in our midst without any regard for social, ethnic or religious considerations.
This, in my view, is the road to take in order to justify our claim as members of the Honourable and Noble Profession and stem the tide of the now common and dangerous blanket and wholesale condemnation of Judges and the Judiciary as corrupt.
"The enormity of the responsibility that the constitution and indeed the society place on Judges and Lawyers requires that we stand on a very high moral pedestal, for, according to the Roman Slave, Publius Syrus, “The greater a man is in power above others, the more he ought to excel them in virtue.
“Anything short of this will erode the confidence of the people in the ability of our judicial system to uphold the rule of law and protect lives and properties.
“We must therefore be conscious of what verdict history will deliver on how we discharge our assigned responsibility.
Justice Kawu, who said that a total number of 2,648 criminal and civil cases were filed and brought forward before the state High Court in the 2021/2022 legal year, added that 281 criminal cases were disposed of out of 420 criminal cases in the legal year.
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