2021: Malami’s Legal Speech

SPEECH DELIVERED BY THE HONOURABLE ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, MR. ABUBAKAR MALAMI, SAN AT THE SPECIAL SESSION TO MARK THE 2021 LEGAL YEAR CEREMONIES OF THE COURT OF APPEAL

HELD ON 13TH SEPTEMBER, 2021 AT THE COURT OF APPEAL HEADQUARTERS, ABUJA

My Lord, the President of the Court of Appeal, Hon. Justice Monica Bolna’an Dongban-Mensen
My Lords, the Honourable Justices of the Court of Appeal, All Retired Judges and Justices here present, The President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Olumide Akpata, and all Officers and Members of the Nigerian Bar Association here present, Learned Senior Advocates,
Learned Friends, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.

It is an honour to receive this invitation to deliver an address on this occasion of the commencement of the 2021/2022 Legal Year of the Court of Appeal. I specially commend the Court, under the leadership of His Lordship, the President of the Court of Appeal, for honouring our age-worn judicial traditions of starting each judicial year with solemn ceremonies wherein we meditate on our past achievements, acknowledge our current strengths and weaknesses, and squarely brace ourselves to face the challenges of the future, in the continuous commitment of the Court of Appeal in diligently discharging her Constitutional duties as a stakeholder in the dispensation of justice as the penultimate Appellate Court in Nigeria.
2.​My Lords, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, permit me to begin my address by thanking the Almighty God for availing us the opportunity to witness the commencement of yet another legal year, while hoping that the collective aspirations of My Lords (the Judges) and Staff of the Court of Appeal towards the actualization of the mandate of this Court will come to fruition this 2021/2022 Legal Year.
3.​I will specially commend My Lord, Hon. Justice Monica Bolna’an Dongban-Mensen President of the Court of Appeal for his astute wisdom and leadership credentials that have distinguished his tenure as the President of this Court, and marked the giant strides already recorded by this Court.
4.​Statutorily, the Court of Appeal occupies a prime place in our hierarchy of Courts in Nigeria, second only to the Supreme Court, and by dint of this lofty position determines appeals on practically all subject matter in our jurisprudence. With this mandate the Court has contributed and continues to contribute positively and effectively to the resolution of appeals, which only in rare instances further proceed to the Supreme Court, thus helping to maintain the stability of Nigeria.
5.​We are all aware, and are daily witnesses of the emerging security challenges we face as a nation. Never before have we seen the Courts inundated as we see recently, with the need for speedy, yet credible dispensation of justice. The 1999 Constitution has saddled on all Courts, and most particularly the apex courts, the mandate of ensuring that justice gets to the common man.
6. ​Consequent upon this sacred Constitutional mandate, I respectfully urge My Lords to maintain the sanctity and credibility of the Court, and to ensure that the sacred integrity reposed on Your Lordships remains unshaken at all times in order to foster and promote public confidence in all Rulings that emanate from this Court.
7. ​Your resolved, as a temple of justice in ensuring that justice is not trivialized to a common bargain and is in effect accessible to all is highly commendable. I hereby also extend a call of solidarity, reverence and respect for the Courts and Court processes, to all our Learned Distinguished Colleagues here present to ensure that justice is not trivialised to a commodity bargained for and taken by the highest bidder, at the detriment of the indigent who for want of equal bargaining power, wallow in the shadows of judicial neglect.
8. ​Uniformity, consistency and universality of judgement and rulings in the face of judicial precedent is an exceptional value of our judicial system that we must at all times strive to uphold as a way of upholding the sanctity of the judiciary in re-enacting the confidence of the common man in our judicial system.
9. ​I wish you happy and successful celebration, and a fruitful legal year ahead.
10. ​Thank you for your attention.

ABUBAKAR MALAMI, SAN
HONOURABLE ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE