Prominent legal practitioners in the country have expressed deep concern over the unduly long delays in justice delivery at the Supreme Court, saying it is a sign of the worsening justice administration in the country.
The lawyers, including members of the inner bar, were reacting to a recent pronouncement by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Hon. Justice Walter S. N. Onnoghen, that the Supreme Court diary is already filled up with appeals slated for hearing up to the year 2021.
While reacting to this in the TVC News Lagos studios, Barrister Ahmed Akanbi described the situation as a frightening position.
“What this means is that if you get to file a case at the supreme court, there is no guarantee that the appeal would be heard until after 2021.
“One of the fundamental principles of law is that justice delayed is justice denied. This incidences have made most litigants lose complete trust in the judicial process.
“Lawyers should be worried at this trend because if this is allowed to degenerate even further, we might soon be out of jobs.” he stated.
“According to statistics given by the CJN, Walter Onoghen, 70% of the cases the Supreme court has to contend with, are interlocutory appeals. We need to have reforms where the interlocutory appeals will be subsumed with the hearing of the main appeal because it can be terribly distracting”.
The lawyer called for both constitutional and institutional reforms. He believes only category of cases that deals with life and death, infractions or interpretation of the law should make it to the Supreme court.
He also canvassed for the establishment of Supreme courts in the different states.