Salami: Judges en­gage in judge­ment fix­ing

Daily Trust - - FRONT PAGE - From Ab­dul­la­teef Aliyu, Ilorin

For­mer pres­i­dent of Court of Ap­peal, Jus­tice Isa Ayo Salami, said yes­ter­day that cor­rup­tion in the ju­di­ciary is real and has eaten deep into the sys­tem. He lamented that some se­nior and re­tired judges now en­gage in judge­ments fix­ing.

“They take money from lit­i­gants to give judges or in­tim­i­date judges to per­vert jus­tice,” he said.

He said Nigeria could adopt the Kenya ap­proach in rid­ding the ju­di­ciary of cor­rup­tion, adding that Kenya in its ef­forts to san­i­tize the ju­di­ciary sus­pended all the judges and set up a body to in­ves­ti­gate them.

He said in line with the Kenya method, the sus­pended judges were asked to ex­plain their con­tro­ver­sial judge­ments and where they failed to do so, they were con­sid­ered in­com­pe­tent.

Salami, who was chair­man at the for­mal open­ing cer­e­mony of the 2014 bi­en­nial law week of the Nige­rian Bar As­so­ci­a­tion (NBA), Ilorin branch, ap­pealed to judges who in­dulge in the prac­tice of fix­ing ver­dicts to de­sist.

“The judges who lend them­selves to this dis­hon­ourable prac­tice of re­ceiv­ing money or lend­ing them­selves to per­vert­ing the course of jus­tice un­der any guise should note that there are other means of check­ing their ex­cesses”, he said.

He noted that al­though it is not all ju­di­cial of­fi­cers that are cor­rupt and dis­hon­ourable, “there are those who are clearly iden­ti­fi­able as cor­rupt but they are pro­tected by the sys­tem. There are also oth­ers who lack courage and their timid­ity is ex­ploited to per­vert the course of Jus­tice”.

He lamented that many judges live in op­u­lence in Nigeria, own­ing as much as 16 cars in ad­di­tion to hav­ing “houses fur­nished with ex­otic fur­ni­ture”.

Kwara State Gover­nor Ab­dul­fa­tah Ahmed, who de­clared the pro­gramme open, called for in­de­pen­dence of the ju­di­ciary, say­ing the only panacea to growth and de­vel­op­ment is eq­uity and jus­tice.

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