CACOL Backs Presidency On Resolve To Arraign Reinstated Judges
The Centre for Anti-corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has backed the decision of the Presidency to arraign suspected corrupt Judges who were recently recalled to return to duty by the National Judicial Council, NJC describing the Council’s step as ‘immoral and retrogressive’.
The Judges had been suspended following the raid on their residences in a sting operation by the Department Of State Security, DSS, in October last year. The six suspended judges who were under investigation for alleged corruption reinstated by NJC reinstated are Justices John Okoro, Uwani Abba Aji, Hydiazira Nganjiwa, Adeniyi Ademola, Justice Musa Kurya and Agbadu Fishim.
Mr. Debo Adeniran, the Executive Chairman of CACOL, said “shamelessness is being brazenly taken to unbelievable heights right before our eyes, and if we remain silent, then the credibility and integrity of the Nigerian Judiciary will remain a body of ridicule within the comity of nations. The fact that the Judges are under investigations alone should be enough for the NJC to wait before it took the decision to reinstate the Judges. Sadly, this move portend that our Judiciary pampers corruption”
“How many litigants will feel comfortable to be judged by a Judge with grievous charges of corruption such as the ones against the suspended Judges? We doubt, if there would be any, unless those who are equally corrupt and require the services of a corrupt Judge to escape justice. Any court where such Judges sit could as well be considered to a market place where judgments could be gotten on basis of the highest bidder and the ‘hardness’ of the currencies. And we should not be taken aback if this counter-productive step by the NJC is allowed to stand when we begin to see suspected corruption criminals seeking to be tried by these ‘permanently stained’ judges.”
“The NJC’s has only reinforced the position that our Judiciary is equally drenched in corruption just like the other arms of the government. And this is a tragedy because the Judiciary is supposed to be the last bastion of hope for the mass of the people. The ‘group practice’ or ‘solidarity’ being espoused by the Bar and Bench makes the case of the Judiciary more dangerous and scary, because it is easy discernible that the NJC’s and even the NBA’s position is more like the Judiciary as a body, is trying shield one of its own from justice ostensibly because they are all involved in the game.
The position of the NBA and the NJC that a period of eight months is too long for Judges to be under investigation is utterly untenable because a crime can always be investigated and prosecuted at anytime. That culpability is not established does not stop a case from being re-opened for further investigations and possible re-prosecution if fresh facts or evidences are unveiled.”
Concluding, the anti-corruption Crusader said, “Judiciary is the last hope of the common people; in a situation where the Judiciary can longer serve the purpose of its creation, it becomes useless, and self-help is becomes the only hope which is a recipe for anarchy. We therefore back the Presidency on the move to arraign the suspended Judges while calling on the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC to expedite actions on its investigations so that the suspected corrupt men of Bench are prosecuted and brought to book if found culpable.”