Pilot Law

Corruption: Guilty judges should face severe penalty


The issue of corruption in the legal profession seems to be taking a new dimension as some members of the bench like Justice Ademola are now being fingered in the menace… how do you see this development?

It is unfortunate to have cases of corruption within the judiciary. Judiciary stands in the position of water, when your cloth are dirty, you use water to clean it but when water becomes dirty, what do you use to clean it? If we have trend of corruption in the judiciary, then I’m afraid for this country. My take is, any judge found guilty of corrupt practises, such should be dealt with severely. There is a popular saying by a jurist that having a corrupt person sitting on the bench is inimical to the society because they use to say that judiciary is the last hope of the common but when it is becoming obvious that judges are been sold… what becomes of the common man who felt cheated?

Do you subscribe to the claim of some members of the public that the fight against corruption of this present administration is one sided…?

I don’t see it that way, I only noticed that the Federal Ministry of Justice that has been in charge of high profile cases by way of prosecution has not been doing it’s home work well. The case of justice Ademola, he was discharged at a time in the past, this same judge was arrested last week and investigated again on the same charge he was discharged of in the first place. This means something has gone wrong somewhere which could be traced to the prosecuting authority, the Ministry of Justice. To me, I don’t see the fight being one sided or a victimisation of any sort. Only that I’m bold to say that the President and the Presidency are been surrounded by saboteurs. It is only the President and his vice that are sincere in this fight except of course Prof. Sagay, who shouts often times against the obnoxious policies of the government.

2017 has almost winded up, the EFCC has been faulted by some concern bodies, especially in the legal profession that it has not been able to secure reasonable number of convictions in the year, can you put things in the right perspectives?

It is unfortunate, our judicial system is not helping too, there might be lapses in EFCC prosecuting cases but our criminal judicial system is not helping. When a case is taking longer than necessary, many things will come in and such cases will be frustrated and it goes down to the defending lawyers. If EFCC has not secured convictions as expected, there are numbers of factors contributing to it, among them is the National Assembly, confirmation of the EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu was taken to another dimension by them yet Prof. Osinbajo has stated that it is not compulsory he is confirmed by them, when they refused to confirm him, he is working. If it is only Magu, the Presidency has confidence in to do the job, then so be it. Till now, nobody has succeeded in filing a case against him, they are only alleging, but they’ve not been able to substantiate the allegations with convincing facts that he is corrupt. I believe the agency will deliver if given all necessary backings.

The dismissal of former SGF and NIA bosses is still causing some reactions among some well meaning Nigerians as they posited that the action was not accordance with law, what is you take on this?

Not until they are convicted by court that they can be sent off. They were investigated and the reports were submitted by the panel of enquiry that investigated them. When anyone does anything that is not in accordance with the rules of his operations in office, the rules states that such is entitled to appropriate sanction which could be warnings, dismissal or any other punishment.

Can we say our legal system has been able to measure up with that of foreign countries?

We don’t allow things to happen despite the fact that we have lots of things that would have worked for us. In the case of former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Madueke, she knew quite well that she will get away with the allegation; that is why she preferred to come around (come to Nigeria) and manipulate things. She knows that lawyers here will do things to buy ways for her. But there, such cannot happen. The former Delta State governor, James Ibori, who was set free here, he had no case to answer but later served jailed term in abroad for the charges he was vindicated of here. You can imagine how he was greatly celebrated when he came back to Nigeria. The problem is that we are trying, but we cannot measure up. They have a system there and they allow it to work. Here, we have the system too but we don’t allow it work.

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