The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mahmud Mohammed, have clashed over the allegation of corruption against judicial officers.
During a special session for 21 lawyers who were conferred with the rank of senior advoactes, the president of the NBA, Mr Austin Alegeh (SAN), in his speech, insisted that there are still some corrupt judges who engage in rendering judgement for a fee.
But the CJN, in his address, challenged the bar to name such judges for disciplinary action.
Alegeh stated that some judicial officers had resorted to turning the law on its head and making pronouncements which are at variance with the provisions of the law.
He added that a few others have formed the bad habit of ignoring judicial precedents even when such authorities are brought to their attention by lawyers.
He, however, threatened that the bar will petition against any judicial officer who is seen to engage in such untoward behaviour.
The CJN, earlier in his speech, condemned what he described as ‘unguarded’ comments by some prominent lawyers that the judiciary is corrupt.
He said, “Such comments coming from the members of the Bar means that they know the identity of the corrupt judges and as such, should fish them out to be dealt with by the National Judicial Council (NJC)”.
He stressed the need for full independence of the judiciary in order to achieve a steadfast and impartial institution.
In his own speech, the solicitor general of the federation, Abdullahi Yola, stressed that the federal government is determined to tackle corruption in all facets of national life.
He, however, charged the judiciary to play a significant role by taking steps in reforming its system and processes to facilitate speedy dispensation of justice, improve the quality of service delivery and engender greater public respect and confidence in the courts.