The Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) has faulted the claim by the National Judicial Council (NJC), that it has acted on all petitions alleging misconduct on the part of judicial officers in line with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, stating that the claim by the NJC is completely misleading because it is far from the truth.
Reacting to the statement by the NJC, the chairman of the anti-graft group, Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju, said in a petition to the NJC that the disciplinary measures meted out to some erring judges has cast serious doubt on the expressed commitment of the council to restore public confidence in the country's judiciary.
The petition read: “Contrary to such claim, CSNAC wishes to state that the deliberate refusal of the NJC to investigate and sanction judges accused of corruption, abuse of office and other acts of misconduct by members of the public has encouraged judicial corruption in the country. cCrruption and impunity is endemic in Nigeria’s judicial system.
“In other words, the outright failure of the judiciary to purge the Nigerian judicial system of corrupt practices has eroded public confidence in the judiciary. Indeed, the disciplinary measures meted out to some erring judges has cast serious doubt on the expressed commitment of the NJC to restore public confidence in the country's judiciary.
“The claim of the NJC that it is committed to the anti corruption policy of the Mohammed Buhari Administration flies in the face of the granting of frivolous injunctions issued by judges which have frustrated the investigation and prosecution of politically exposed persons and people accused of corruption. In several other cases, judges involved in the trial of corruption cases as well as the appellate courts have granted stay of proceedings to stall the prosecution of corrupt people in the society.
“Apart from the case of Justice Mohammed Yunusa, who was recently recommended for retirement by the NJC, no other judge has been sanctioned by the NJC for frustrating the fight against corruption. Even in the case of Justice Yunusa, the NJC failed to act until the Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) had to compile seven cases in which the judge granted perpetual injunction to restrain the EFCC, ICPC and the offices of the Inspector-General of Police and Attorney-General of the Federation from prosecuting some persons accused of criminal diversion of billions of naira.”
While highlighting over 10 petitions forwarded to it against the misconduct of judicial officers, CSNAC queried why the NJC decided not to investigate and sanction judges alleged of judicial corruption in the petitions.
“CSNAC is of the firm opinion that corruption and impunity in the judiciary pose a serious disincentive to credible administration of justice as well impugn on the collective psyche of stakeholders in the judicial system. CSNAC therefore calls on the NJC to join the calls to rid the judiciary of bad eggs, in the interest of justice, democracy and good governance.”