Suspension of Judges: More senior lawyers to face sanctions
The suspension of all the seven Justices and judges standing trial from performing their duties by the National Judicial Council (NJC) until their cases are liquidated has triggered anxiety in the judiciary that the axe may yet fall on more members of the judiciary especially very prominent and senior lawyers. The suspension was the outcome of the two-day marathon meeting of the NJC.
A very competent source in the judiciary and a notable personality in the profession told our correspondent that the NJC did the right thing to save the much revered judicial profession from its recent descent to odium and opprobrium; he however added that many senior lawyers would be taken in by this new wave of inquest into how some judicial officers performed their duties.
“Mark my word, some very senior officers are complicit in this whole saga which is still at the level of allegation. When the real cases commence we expect to see a major unraveling and unearthing of some of the unwholesome practices that some of our colleagues indulge in.
“Some of us at our level have grumbled and complained about certain things we noticed and felt they were not in the interest of the judiciary and the administration of justice”, he said.
In suspending the judicial officers, the NJC also set out clearly to institute anti-corruption code to check criminal practices in the judiciary.
Soji Oye, Ag. Director Information of the NJC, announced the suspension of the indicted officers in this statement below.
“The National Judicial Council, under the Chairmanship of the Hon. Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Mahmud Mohammed, GCON, at its 79th Meeting held on the 2nd and 3rd day of November 2016, commenced implementation of specific aspects of the National Judicial Policy which came into force in April 2016 and was launched on Monday 24th October, 2016.
During the Meeting, Council set-up a Transparency and Anti-Corruption Policy Implementation Committee as follows:
- Hon Justice E. O. Ayoola, CON (Rtd Justice of the Supreme Court) – Chairman.
- Hon Justice Kashim Zannah, Chief Judge of Borno State – Member.
- A. B. Mahmoud, SAN, President Nigeria Bar Association – Member.
Section 6 of the National Judicial Policy aims at putting in place multi-faceted strategies and guidelines that will ensure transparency and eliminate corruption in the Judiciary.
It seeks, amongst other measures, to provide a platform and opportunity to citizens who profess factual and credible knowledge of information on the nature and modalities of corruption in the judicial system to ventilate such.
Council also decided that Judicial Officers shall not be standing trial for alleged corruption related offences and be performing judicial functions at the same time. Council however decided that it will ensure that Judicial Officers who are being investigated for alleged high profile criminal offences do not perform judicial functions until their cases are concluded.”