The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, has described sports as a potential unifying factor in Nigeria, especially during trying moments of the country as an independent entity.
Muhammad made the remark in Minna, Niger, while inaugurating the 25th edition of the Chief Justice of Nigeria Sports Competition.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the annual competition, scheduled to take place between October 30th and November 12th, was organised by the National Sports Association for Judiciary (NASAJ).
He said that sports had continued to unite Nigerians “in such a way that they cannot be separated, in spite the differences in culture and religion.”
The CJN said: “As you are all aware, sports is very important to the physical, mental, and psychological development of every sportsman.
“It is also a unifying factor to Nigerians, especially at this trying moment of our country as an independent and inseparable entity.”
The chief justice, who was represented by Justice Aliyu Mayaki, the Chief Judge of Niger, said that the competition provided an avenue for staff of the judiciary across the federation “to come together as one family.”
“This event provides opportunity for the judiciary staff from various jurisdictions to keep themselves fit and mentally balanced to face the challenges of the administration of justice in the country,” he said.
He called on the participants to reflect on the objectives of the competition and work hard to ensure that the aim was not defeated.
He further charged them to exhibit true spirit of sportsmanship throughout the competition.
Also, Gov. Abubakar Bello assured the officials and athletes of their safety during and after the games.
Bello, who was represented by the Commissioner for Youth and Sports, thanked the organisers for choosing the state to host the competition.
Earlier, Mr Emeka Ndili, President, NASAJ, said that the competition would feature 10 sporting events, such as football, table tennis, handball, athletics, badminton, chess, scrabble, and so on.
Contingents from the Supreme Court, Federal High Court, Abuja, National Industrial Court, Customary Court of Appeal from Kano, Edo, Lagos, Anambra, Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom judiciaries attended the inauguration.
Others in attendance were National Judicial Institute, Court of Appeal, FCT Judicial Service Commission, Body of Benchers United, National Judicial Council and the Federal Judicial Service Commission, Abuja.