Appeal court has 39,526 pending cases, says Justice Dongben-Mensem

    During a ceremony marking the beginning of the 2023/2024 legal year, the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensen, revealed that the appellate court currently has 39,526 pending cases. She provided these statistics while discussing the workload and activities of the court over the past legal year.

    In the 2022/2023 legal year, the Court of Appeal received a total of 7,295 appeals and 3,665 motions across its 20 divisions. During that period, the court managed to determine 3,765 cases and disposed of 5,617 motions. Of the appeals, 1,030 were dismissed, and 10,381 were allowed.

    Justice Dongban-Mensen noted that the number of pending appeals had increased from 34,037 in the previous legal year to 39,526 as of August 31, 2023.

    The court also played a significant role in handling election petitions, with 98 panels being constituted to hear 1,209 petitions filed across the country. This included petitions related to presidential, senatorial, House of Representatives, state houses of assembly, and gubernatorial elections. Some of these cases have been concluded, while others are still being attended to.

    Justice Dongban-Mensen highlighted the challenges faced by the Abuja division of the Court of Appeal, including the overwhelming volume of documents and a lack of adequate storage facilities and office space. She appealed to the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to provide a large piece of land for the construction of a new division in Abuja.

    Speaking at the event, former Minister of Justice Kanu Agabi, SAN, representing the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN), emphasized the importance of transparency among judicial officers in the discharge of their duties. He expressed concern over unwarranted attacks and criticism against judicial officers and urged that these should be stopped to ensure the country’s continued survival.

    Agabi also raised concerns about the granting of outlandish bail conditions to suspected criminals, emphasizing that such conditions should be attainable, as the law presumes suspects innocent until guilt is established.

    The Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, assured that President Bola Tinubu’s administration would address the shortage of justices at the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.

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