You Failed To Deal With Corrupt Judicial Officers – Falana Tells Nba
BEVERLY HILLS, October 9, (THEWILL) – Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has criticised the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) for failing to deal with corrupt officials in the judiciary insisting that adding that it was responsible for the current state of the country's judiciary.
Falana described the NBA's action as an embarrassment to members of the body who are not corrupt as he slammed the leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) for calling for the unconditional release of the judges arrested by the Department of State Services (DSS).
THEWILL recalls that the DSS raided the houses of some Court judges at Abuja, Gombe, Kano and Port Harcourt in the early hours of Saturday, October 8, and ended up arresting at least four judicial officers.
It alleged that the suspects had engaged in judicial misconduct and corrupt practices, adding that a huge amount of money was recovered from three of the judges.
However, in response to the raid, the NBA had demanded the immediate and unconditional release of the judges which prompted a reaction from Falana who called on the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami to make sure the arrested judicial officers are arraigned without delay.
“In particular, the Nigerian Bar Association which has information on all corrupt judges and lawyers in the country has continued to shield them to the embarrassment of incorruptible members of the bar and the bench,” Falana stated.
“The few lawyers who have plucked up the courage to expose corrupt judges and lawyers have been stigmatised and treated like lepers by their colleagues.
“It is on record that when both the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Offences Commission and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission sent invitation letters to judges suspected of corruption they had rushed to the Federal High Court to obtain interlocutory injunctions to prevent their arrest, investigation and prosecution.”
“It is on account of negligence on the part of the legal profession that the SSS which screens candidates before they are recommended by the National Judicial Council for appointment as judges has now engaged in the arrest of judges for alleged corruption and abuse of office.
“It is a matter of grave concern that the legal profession has allowed the denigration of the hallowed temple of justice because of the misconduct of a few corrupt judges.
“For several years, judges who committed grave criminal offences were not prosecuted but merely retired by the authorities on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council.
“Although the National Judicial Council recently recommended the dismissal and prosecution of a judge for extorting the sum of N197m from a litigant the authorities had paid lip service to the menace of judicial corruption in the country.”
Falana, however, said because the detained judges “are presumed innocent until the contrary is proved by the State, they should be admitted to bail in self-recognisance.”
Story by David Oputah