Viewpoint

June 10, 2024

Judicial mercenaries: A disgrace to the legal profession (2)

A legal justification for the suspension of the expatriate employment levy

By SONNY ONYEGBULA

From Friday continues the narrative, using examples of some decided cases, of the harm brought to bear on the judiciary by some unscrupulous  judges through their wrong use of exparte orders

*Afribank Nigeria Plc v. Akwa Ibom State Government (2009): The court warned that exparte orders should not be used to perpetuate injustice or undermine the rule of law.

*Guarantee Trust Bank Plc v. Innoson Nigeria Limited (2015): The court emphasized that exparte orders must be based on credible evidence and not speculative claims.

*Central Bank of Nigeria v. Interstellar Communications Limited (2016): The court cautioned that exparte orders should not be used to stifle legitimate business operations or infringe on constitutional rights.

* Ecobank Nigeria Limited v. Honeywell Flour Mills Plc (2017): The court reiterated that exparte orders must be grounded in law and not influenced by extraneous factors.

The NJC’s failure to act

The National Judicial Council’s, NJC, failure to act in the face of such blatant misconduct is a stark reminder of the institution’s inability to police itself. By disregarding the egregious actions of these judicial mercenaries, the NJC has effectively given them a license to continue their corrupt practices, further entrenching a culture of impunity.

The NJC’s inaction betrays the public’s trust and dereliction of its duty to uphold the judiciary’s integrity. By failing to hold rogue judges accountable, the NJC has created a culture of complicity where corruption is tolerated and even encouraged. This has far-reaching consequences, eroding the very foundations of the legal system and undermining the rule of law.

The NJC’s failure to act has also encouraged these judicial mercenaries, who now feel invincible and untouchable. They continue to issue exparte orders without due process, deny parties a fair hearing, and perpetuate injustice with reckless abandon. Their actions have devastating consequences, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake.

The NJC’s inaction indicates a more significant problem—a systemic failure of the institutions tasked with upholding the rule of law. When the guardians of justice fail to act, the very fabric of society is torn apart. The NJC must immediately address this crisis, restore the judiciary’s integrity, and ensure justice is served. Anything less would be a betrayal of the public’s trust and a perpetuation of the disgraceful status quo.

The way forward

The NJC must swiftly and decisively address this crisis, investigate the gross misconduct, and hold the rogue judges accountable for their actions. This is the only way to restore the judiciary’s integrity and rebuild public trust. Anything less would be a betrayal of the public’s trust and a perpetuation of the disgraceful status quo.

The NJC must demonstrate its commitment to upholding the principles of justice and fairness and ensure that the judiciary is held to the highest standards of integrity and accountability. This includes conducting a thorough and transparent investigation into the misconduct allegations and taking appropriate disciplinary action against those found responsible.

Furthermore, the NJC must address the systemic issues that have led to this crisis, including the judiciary’s lack of transparency and accountability. This may include implementing reforms to improve the judiciary’s accountability and transparency, such as establishing an independent complaints mechanism and publishing judicial decisions.

The public expects and deserves a fair, transparent, and accountable judiciary. The NJC must act decisively to restore the judiciary’s integrity and ensure justice is served. Anything less would be a betrayal of the public’s trust and a perpetuation of the disgraceful status quo. The time for action is now.

Conclusion

The judiciary stands at a critical juncture, with the future of justice precariously poised. The NJC must seize this moment to boldly reclaim the judiciary’s integrity and restore the public’s trust. The legal profession, the pursuit of justice, and the people all demand a higher standard. Anything less would be a betrayal of the trust placed in the judiciary. The stakes are high, and failure is not an option. The time for decisive action is now. The future of justice depends on it.

Call to action

As a concerned citizen, I urge the NJC to take immediate and decisive action to address the crisis in the judiciary. We demand that the NJC:

* Investigate the gross misconduct of judicial mercenaries and hold them accountable for their actions

* Bring rogue judges to justice and ensure they face the consequences of their corruption

* Restore the integrity of the judiciary and ensure that justice is served without fear or favour

* Reclaim the temple of justice from the grip of corruption and ensure that the legal system serves the people, not just the powerful and connected

We can restore the judiciary’s honour and ensure justice is served. The time for action is now. We cannot afford to wait any longer. The future of our democracy and the rule of law depends on it.

Join us in this call to action and demand a judiciary that is fair, transparent, and accountable to the people. Let us reclaim the temple of justice and ensure that justice is served for all.

Concluded

•Dr. Onyegbula is a legal consultant based in Florida, USA.