The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Muhammad, has declared that the Justices of the Supreme Court are not a repository of knowledge, but are fallible and receptive to correction.
The apex court’s director of press and information, Festus Akande, said in a statement that Justice Muhammad stated on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 during a courtesy visit to the Supreme Court by members of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON.
He was quoted as saying, “with the way we operate, if any of you has any reservations, please, write us; criticise us within the ambit of your knowledge and experience.
“We can’t claim to know it all. We are still learning because learning, as we all know, is a continuum. Our doors are wide open for constructive criticisms. Even our grammar, punctuation, have to be corrected to avoid any error in the rulings and judgments we give.”
The Chief Justice of Nigeria informed his visitors that, as justices, they did not pick offence when their written drafts of judgments were corrected, especially with regard to grammatical errors.
He asserted that it was a practice in force in Court of Appeal and Supreme Court to ensure that all judgments come out in an acceptable manner after all the necessary critics and corrections.
According to him, what every right-thinking and serious-minded 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.
“The rules provide that each judge should give his 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,” the CJN said.
The chief justice stated that, even though he had not had the opportunity of reading the 2019 AMCON Amendment Act, from the brief presentation made by the visiting team, he was convinced that a good and thorough job had been done.