By Henry Ojelu
The Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, has reacted to the resignation of Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Muhammad Tanko, saying that issues of inadequate welfare and corruption in the judiciary raised by some justices in the Supreme Court must be tackled by the incoming CJN, Justice Kayode Ariwoola.
In a statement signed by it’s President, Olumide Akpata, the association said that public confidence in the judiciary is at it’s lowest level and that the task before the incoming CJN is to rebuilt that confidence.
The statement reads in part: “The Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, has received the news of the resignation, on grounds of ill health, of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad.
“We thank His Lordship for his lengthy service to the nation, and wish him quick recovery even as we pray for a well-deserved peaceful retirement.
“In the course of previous publications and communications, I have consistently appreciated the outgone Chief Justice of Nigeria for the cordial working relationship between the Bar and the Bench under our respective administrations. I must do so again today as he bows out.
“It is, however, impossible to consider His Lordship’s retirement in isolation of the recent unprecedented developments at the Supreme Court where 14 Justices of the Court censured the outgone Chief Justice of Nigeria over His Lordship’s handling of their welfare and related issues.
“Beyond this, there is near universal agreement that public confidence in the Judiciary and indeed the legal profession is at an all-time low.
“There is now more than ever the need for urgent reforms in the Judiciary and to rebuild the almost dissipated confidence that Nigerians have in the Judiciary and the wider legal profession in Nigeria.
“These should form the immediate first tasks for Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, who is expected to now take over as the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria.
“The NBA welcomes the appointment of Justice Olukayode Ariwoola and pledges its readiness to work together with His Lordship and the Judiciary in cleansing the Augean Stable and addressing the ills that have continued to plague not just the Judiciary but the entire legal profession.”