CSNAC decried the nonchalance of the NJC in combating corruption in the judiciary headlong.
The Civil Society Coalition Against Corruption, CSNAC, has reiterated its call for attention to be drawn to the “ugly trend of corruption and impunity” which it said is fast becoming endemic in Nigeria’s judicial system.
In a statement on Monday, Olanrewaju Suraj, the group’s Chairman, said that the failure of the judiciary to purge itself of judges indicted for corruption erodes the integrity of Nigeria’s judiciary as well as casts doubt on the widely acclaimed professed commitment of Mariam Muktar, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, to fighting corruption in the system.
“CSNAC wishes to cite the following cases for the attention and urgent action of the honourable CJN to prove her commitment to integrity of the judiciary, as well as, transparent and accountable administration of justice system in Nigeria:
“Failure to suspend and or remove Justice Umar of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) on the ground of corruption allegation and investigation by the EFCC. It is important to note that other panel members of the CCB have failed to sit with the Chairman as a result of the ethical dilemma arising from the indictment thereby hindering administration of justice at the CCB.
“Retirement without reprimand by the National Judicial Council (NJC) of Justice Marcel Awokulehin upon investigation and indictment for conspiracy with drug dealers to violate extant laws establishing the NDLEA.
“Failure of the NJC to investigate Justice Abdul Kafarati for alleged untoward practices and desecration of the bench.
“Failure of the NJC to investigate Justice Adejumo of the Industrial Arbitration Court (IAC) for allegedly appointing judges who do not meet the requirements of the law. The same judge was accused by Edo State governor of meddling in matters before other judges of the IAC in a manner smack of compromise.
“The cases cited above are among several other corruption allegations and unresolved indictments bedeviling Nigeria’s judicial system. It is regrettable that the CJN now appears overwhelmed by the enormity of the rot and has either become disenchanted or unmotivated to sustain her planned fight against corruption in the judiciary.
Mr. Suraj decried the apparent lack of enthusiasm by the CJN, as well as, the nonchalance of the NJC in combating corruption in the judiciary headlong.
“In yet another public proclamation of her anti-corruption policy, the CJN has threatened to sanction judges found wanton in upholding their oath of office and guilty of unethical practices on the bench,” Mr. Suraj said.
“CSNAC regrets however that such public proclamation by the CJN has almost become mantra as the judiciary is plagued with litany of unresolved corruption allegations against some judges as well as overt failure to apply established rules or impose mandatory sanctions against indicted judges.
“CSNAC wishes to recall that the appointment of Mrs. Aloma Mariam Mukhtar as the CJN elicited much expectations amongst stakeholders in the judiciary as well as the general public, following her widely reported acknowledgement of the depth of the rot in the bench with promise to ensure appropriate reforms.
“However, in view of several unresolved cases of corruption against judges that are pending, CSNAC asserts categorically that any further public pronouncement by the CJN to the effect of waging war against corruption in the judiciary could only be taken with a pinch of salt,” Mr. Suraj added.