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Corruption: NJC lied

The Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) has accused the National Judicial Council (NJC) of lying that it acted on all petitions of misconduct against judicial officers.

Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mahmud Mohammed
Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mahmud Mohammed

It said it was a false claim of the NJC that it had been dealing promptly with allegations of misconduct against judicial officers.

The letter written by Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju, Chairman of CSNAC, alleged that the Council was “completely misleading because it is far from the truth’’.

In the letter entitled, “Cover up of judicial corruption and Impunity by the National Judicial Council’’, Mr Suraju said NJC had deliberately refused to investigate and sanction judges that were accused of corruption, abuse of office and misconduct.

“This has encouraged judicial corruption in the country. Corruption and impunity is endemic in Nigeria’s judicial system. In other words, the outright failure of the judiciary to purge the Nigerian judicial system of corrupt practices has eroded public confidence in the judiciary.’’

He said that the claim of the NJC that it was committed to the anti-corruption policy “flies in the face of the granting of frivolous injunctions issued by judges which have frustrated the investigation and prosecution of politically exposed persons and people accused of corruption’’.

“ In several other cases, judges involved in the trial of corruption cases as well as the appellate courts have granted stay of proceedings to stall the prosecution of corrupt people in the society,’’ he alleged.

Aside the recommendation of Justice Mohammed Yunusa for retirement by the NJC, no other judge has been sanctioned for frustrating the fight against corruption.

He alleged that NJC only acted on the case of Yunusa after CSNAC had written seven petitions alleging that the judge granted perpetual injunction to restrain the EFCC, ICPC and the offices of the Inspector-General of Police and Attorney-General of the Federation from prosecuting some persons accused of criminal diversion of billions of naira.

In order to disprove the claims of NJC, Suraju reeled out petitions on judicial corruption which the Council had refused to investigate.

The petitions included the one written by Edo and Oyo states against Justice B .A Adejumo, President of the National Industrial Court, for allegedly granting illegal ex parte orders against two governments.

“The petition written against the President of the Court of Appeal for failing to hear and determine the appeal filed by the EFCC in 2008 at the Court of Appeal against the judgment of Justice Buba in the Odili case.’’

He explained that the counsel handling the case on behalf of the EFCC is the current President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. A. B. Mahmoud.

Another petition submitted to the NJC by the CSNAC, was written against four judges, including Justices Uwani Abba-Aji of the Court of Appeal; Ibrahim Auta, Hyeladzira Nganjiwa and Mohammed Yunusa of Federal High Court and Chief Judge of the Federal High Court.

They were alleged to have collected bribes from Mr. Rickey Tarfa (SAN) currently undergoing trial for transfer of sums of money to the judges.

CSNAC also wrote a petition against Justice Marcel Awokulehin for sentencing convicted drug dealers to lesser terms contrary to the provisions of the NDLEA Act.

Another petition written against Justice Abdul Kafarati for gross misconduct and desecration of the bench was submitted to the NJC by the CSNAC.

“The petition written against Justice Adejumo for recommending unqualified candidates who were appointed as judges of the National Industrial Court,’’ he said was also submitted by the CSNAC.’’

Other petitions submitted to NJC for which no action were taken were against Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the federal high court and the one against 15 judges submitted by DSS.

NJC, he said, was silent in the case of the 15 judges who allegedly engaged in money laundering and corruption involving millions of naira, dollars, pounds and other foreign currencies and .

He said CSNAC believed that that corruption and impunity in the judiciary posed serious disincentive to credible administration of justice as well impugn on the collective psyche of stakeholders in the judicial system.

Following the high level of allegations, he said, CSNAC was compelled to call on the NJC to investigate the petitions without any further delay.


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