By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA—Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Dahiru Musdapher, Thursday, lamented the increasing spate of money laundering and official corruption by political office holders in the country, stressing that henceforth, judges should treat such criminal matters as top priority.
He said corruption has gradually permeated every facet of the public sector of the economy, saying it was the sole reason the judiciary has not performed to its optimal best in recent times.
Consequently, he said there was need for the judiciary to restore public confidence on the justice administrative system in the country by taking decisive steps towards meting befitting sanction to any public officer found to have violated his or her oath of office.
The CJN, who made the declaration while presenting a paper at a lecture organised by the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in Abuja yesterday, mandated judges to ensure that cases bothering on criminal breach of trust are dispensed off within six months of filing.
He said: “I must make specific mention of the need for judges to prioritise criminal matters bordering on official corruption that are placed before them. It has since been recognised that corruption is the bane of development in Nigeria.
“Therefore, it is imperative for all judges to realise that these cases are of extreme importance to Nigerians and must be dispensed with swiftly. I, hereby, strongly advise all judges to accelerate the hearing of such cases and ensure that they are dispensed with within six months of filing.
“If for any reason the prosecution is not ready to proceed with the case, then the matter should be struck out rather than leaving the public with the impression that the judiciary is not performing its necessary role in curbing corrupt practices in Nigeria. These delays cannot be tolerated any longer.”