The judiciary and suspected corrupt and sharp practices within that Arm of government has been in central focus lately, following the recent arrest of some suspected corrupt judges by men of the Department of State Security services. This development have dragged along with it, the National Judicial Council, NJC, the body empowered constitutionally to handles issues of discipline and misconducts in the country’s judiciary in the scenario.
Reacting to the steps the NJC has taken thus far in either defending itself and members or in what the body is trying to do in purging the judiciary of corrupt practices; the Executive Chairman of the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL said “we are yet to take the NJC serious, especially when the seriousness required to be directed toward fighting corruption in the country as a whole and in particular, the judiciary is considered. This is given the grievous consequences of allowing corruption to fester in the Arm of government regularly considered as the ‘last hope of the people’.”
One the steps NJC intend to take according to recent media reports, is to launch what it calls the ‘National Judicial Policy’. This policy states that the Council and any other judicial institutions is allowed to discard any complaints against a judge or employee of the judiciary for investigation if after receiving the complaint it is leaked or discussed in the media. The policy targeted at empowering the judiciary on complaints having to do with allegations of misconduct against judicial officers or employees of the judiciary not to be leaked or published in the media.
“First of all, looking at the aspect of the policy that is clearly designed to gag the Media and Nigerians at large, it betrays the dishonesty in the policy itself as an anti-democratic proposal that is extremely unconstitutional and disgraceful. For why would the judiciary chose to ‘kill’ the Freedom of Information Act on the pedestal of shielding corruption? It validates the allegations and asserts from the different quarters that the judiciary is well soaked in corruption.”
“Those who commit offenses in government institutions do so against the State and the country, hence, whatever petitions or allegations that are made should remain in the public eye as this would make sure that due processes are adhered to.”
Adeniran further said “therefore we say no to the ‘pro-corruption’ policy being proposed by the NJC, disgraceful that a so sacred Arm of government is tricking to use every trick in the bag to shield suspected criminal judges when clearly the logical thing is to suspend them till their innocence is established. If the policy is allowed to operate, it would give access for so many irregularities to be perpetrated.”
“The judiciary is established to protect the constitution, why will it now come up with a policy that stripes the Media and the generality of Nigerians of their rights to Freedom of Information which it ought to protect? Why is it now that the judiciary is saying it just procured the right to suspend erring judges after it suffered its self-earned public embarrassment?”
“Transparency and accountability are basic ingredients of governance wherever true democratic ethos is imbibed and imbued, the judiciary should come out clean; subjective itself to lawful and constitutional provisions to clearly command the respect it deserves rather than this apparent hypocrisy. The proposed ‘National Judicial Policy’ is anti-democratic; it will aid corrupt practices in the judiciary.” Mr. Adeniran concluded
Media Coordinator, CACOL
October 25, 2016