CJN, NBA disagree over corruption allegations against judges
• Okoh, others urge Nigerians to support Buhari• Odigie-Oyegun restates need for special courts to try graft cases
THE Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mahmud Mohammed, at a public function in Abuja yesterday disagreed over allegations of corruption charges against judicial officers.
While the NBA insisted that there are still some corrupt judges who still engage in rendering judgment for a fee, the CJN however challenged the Bar to name such judges for disciplinary action.
Speaking during a special session of the Supreme Court to mark the commencement of the 2015-2016 Legal Year and swearing-in of newly-conferred Senior Advocates of Nigeria, the National President of the NBA, Austin Alegeh (SAN), alleged that some judicial officers had resorted to turning law on its head and making pronouncements which are at variance with the provisions of law.
He added that a few others have formed the bad habit of ignoring judicial precedents even when such authorities are brought to their attention by counsel.
He, however, threatened that the Bar shall petition any judicial officer who is seen to engage in such untoward behaviour.
But the CJN condemned what he described as ‘unguarded’ comments by some prominent lawyers that the Judiciary is corrupt.
He said: “Such comments coming from the members of the Bar means that they know the identity of the corrupt judges and as such should fish them out to be dealt with by the National Judicial Council (NJC).”
In another development, the Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), The Most Revd. Nicholas Okoh, has called on Nigerians to support the government in fighting corruption and indiscipline in the nation with a view to stopping the decay being generated by these vices.
Speaking at the weekend during the first session of the 9th Synod of the Diocese of Ife as well as dedication of the new Cathedral of Church of St. Philips, Aiyetoro, Okoh commended the present administration in its effort to bring about the expected change and advised Nigerians to support her.
Also, the Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Lagos and Bishop of Lagos Mainland Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), The Most Revd. Adebayo Akinde, called on Nigerians to be patient with the present administration, adding that many things that had gone wrong for many years would take time to correct.
Besides, the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, yesterday said that the desire for special courts was aimed at dispensing cases involving corrupt persons expeditiously.
Speaking at the post-investiture reception for Dr. Muiz Banire, one of the newly-inducted Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) in Abuja, Odigie-Oyegun said that it was unfortunate that those accused of indulging in corrupt practices are taking advantage of court processes to avoid punishment.
According to him: “Some people have looted money that can last triple of their years on earth and keep cases in court for a long time. It is a period of change and it is my hope that we will now get advice, proposals on how that change would also permeates the Judiciary.