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SENIOR LAWYERS AID BRIBING OF JUDGES -EX ICPC CHAIRMAN

By NBF News
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Former chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), Justice Mustapha Akanbi has lamented that senior lawyers who aid bribing of judges have contributed to the dwindling image of the judiciary.

Speaking on the topic 'Restoring Confidence in the Judiciary: The Role of the Bar and Bench' at the 8th edition of JIC Taylor's memorial lecture, organised by the Nigerian Bar Association, Lagos branch, Justice Akanbi stated that some judges have become agents for certain politicians.

'The story going round today is that some lawyers are engaged to handle election cases not because of their erudition or ability, but because they have the necessary contacts or connections to reach out to a willing judge.'

'Senior counsel who aid or serve as agents for giving of bribe either in cash or kind is the most damaging and crippling development that has affected the judiciary in more recent times.'

'Indeed public perception appears to have tilted in favour of the view that the judiciary in the last few years had become a corrupt institution and this is fanned by corrupt politicians with whom some senior counsel sometimes openly consult and act as their agents,' he said.

While condemning the recent face-off between the retired Chief Justice of Nigeria and the suspended President of the Court of Appeal, Akanbi, who is also a former President of the Court of Appeal, lamented that some members of the bench got there through corruption.

'This was the first time in history that a CJN and a President of the Court of Appeal were engaged openly in serious altercation and disagreement in connection with an election petition case with some political colouration.

However, Chairman of the occasion and a former Attorney General of Lagos State, Alhaji Femi Okunu (SAN) demanded for a public apology from the former CJN and the suspended President of the Court of Appeal.