As part of efforts at enhancing speedy justice dispensation in Nigeria, a senior lawyer, Chief Ogwu Onoja, SAN, yesterday made a case for the establishment of Regional Supreme Courts.
Onoja explained that the Regional Supreme Courts, when established, are to be saddled with responsibilities of handling cases which ought not to get to the Central Supreme Court.
As part of enhancing the nation’s jurisprudence, the senior lawyer also beliefs it is high time the bench of the apex court considers some of its dissenting judgments as law.
He was speaking at the public presentation of a book on ‘Dissenting Judgments of a retired Supreme Court Justice, Ejembi Eko in Abuja.
Speaking against the backdrop of depletion of Justices on the Supreme Court bench, Onoja lamented that the apex court would continue to be over worked with unprecedented number of cases unless something is done to address the situation.
Onoja, whose law firm put the book together, disclosed cited cases such as land disputes, marriages and civil cases among others that should not get to the central but terminated at the Regional Supreme Courts adding that issues such as policy and Constitutional matters should be handled only by the Central Supreme Court.
Onoja insisted that Regional Supreme Courts as being operated in advanced countries of the world would definitely ensure speedy and quality justice delivery in Nigeria when adopted.
“With only 15 Justices and mountains of cases, Supreme Court will continue to be overworked. There is the need to fill the vacancies as quickly as possible.
“Cases in the Supreme Court as presently constituted last for more than ten years. That is one of the reasons why parties are changed along the lines due to deaths and incapacitations.
“At the moment, all manners of cases such as marriages, land and employment matters are finding their ways into the only Supreme Court in the land. This trend is unnecessary because it is affecting the quality of justice delivery in the country.
“Therefore, Supreme Court should not be for all cases. There must be limitations along the lines.”
The senior lawyer said that the book written in honour of retired Justice Ejembi Eko from his dissenting judgments showed his courage as a non conformist to do anything against free flow of justice.
He appealed to the authorities of the apex court to look into some of the dissenting judgments and make them laws where and when possible.
In his brief remarks, Justice Eko, who was highly elated with the attendance of the serving and retired Supreme Court Justices and SAN charged Judges in the country to always express their views when having strong ones.
Among the Supreme Court Justices at the occasion are Olukayode Ariwoola, Amina Augie and Uwani Musa Abba-Aji.