Anti-Corruption: UK-based group slams Nigerian judges, lawyers

High court
High court

Some Nigerians based in the United Kingdom, under the aegis of 2015 Group, have asked President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately initiate reforms in Nigeria’s judicial sector in order to successfully tackle corruption in the country.

It also urged the Itse Sagay-led Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption to expedite actions in producing its awaited report on the frame work for fighting corruption in Nigeria.

The group stated this in a communiqué after its meeting in London, United Kingdom.

The communiqué was signed by its spokesperson, Kingsley Ogbonda and lead campaigner, Tunde Doherty.

While declaring support for the anti-corruption crusade of the Nigerian government, the group regretted that some of the nation’s judges and lawyers had been bending justice, which it argued could hamper the efforts of the government.

It said, “We recall that the rule of law implies the inalienable condition that the judiciary must be fit for purpose; therefore with the zeal the majority of Nigerian judges, aided by disreputable lawyers, have been bending justice, leads us now, to call for the immediate and fundamental reform of the Nigerian judiciary.

“We are disturbed that judges, who granted frivolous injunctions, allowed unmeritorious appeals and simply gave official thieves mere slap on their wrists are allowed to keep their share of the loot orchestrated by thieving politicians. And worst, they are still presiding over cases of improprieties.

“It is our solemn belief that unless the Nigerian judiciary is reformed the fight against corruption would be hard to be successfully prosecuted. We hope that the Prof Sagay’s committee will incorporate this concern in its final report.”

The group said it does not believe Mr. Buhari is unmindful of the respect for the rule of law, which is one of the fundamental principles of democracy.

It argued that “a quiet display of irritation caused by his enduring sense of patriotism and abiding sense of national duty should not by any stretch of imagination be elevated to an abuse of the rule of law.”

It said Mr. Buhari had clearly demonstrated his belief in the rule of law by challenging his previous election defeats in courts and accepting the verdicts regardless of some reservations of those judgements by observers.

“We remind some elements in the public space that the rule of law is not a mere slogan that should be mouthed glibly without regard to its intrinsic value,” the communique said.

The group pledged to reach out to international anti-corruption individuals and bodies for support for Nigeria’s effort to fight corruption.

It called on the media to join the president in the fight against corruption and also meet his request to do more investigative work to expose official corruption.

The group enjoined Nigerian journalists to borrow a leaf “from the work of Anas Aremeyaw Anas in Ghana, whose investigative work has led to the public humiliation of no less than twenty Ghanaian judges caught in corruption scandal.”

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