A renowned human rights activist in Nigeria and Executive Chairman, Centre for Human Rights and Social Justice (CHRSJ), Comrade Adeniyi, Alimi Sulaiman has described the apex body of the Benchers, the National Judicial Council (NJC) under Justice Muhamamed Mahmud as an embodiment of bias and corruption both in character and actions, insisting that the corrupt judiciary portends danger to the sustainability of the current democratic experiment in the Country.
Comrade Sulaiman who also noted that the judiciary system of the country needs to be sanitized of corrupt practices which has eaten deep into its system and undermined the public trust, independence, impartiality and confidence of its existence, so as to bring back the lost glory of the Judicial arm of government as the last hope of common man.
He however, stated that most of the disciplinary actions being taken by the Judicial council against the few judicial officers, were influenced by some cabals in the Executive arm of government , citing an instances of the recent compulsory retirement handed down to courageous and incorruptible Judge of an Osun State High Court, Justice Olamide Folahnami Oloyede for exposing the alleged criminal mismanagement of Public funds by Mr. Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola at the NJC’s 77th meetings.
He also alleged the cover-up of the report of February 1st, 2016 of Justice John Inyang Okoro of the Supreme Court to the leadership of National Judicial Council (NJC), reporting the Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi’s visitation to his official residence to discuss and request for the favour in the election Appeals in respect of Abia State, Akwa-ibom State and River State respectively, adding that the report of the visit of Mr. Umana Umana of the ruling All Progressives Congress(APC) to Justice Okoro, requesting for the assistance of the Supreme court to influence the outcome of the Election Petition tribunal ,was also covered-up by the Judicial Council.
Reacting to the recent assertion of the Council through its Acting Director of Information, Mr. Soji Oye that “only National Judicial Council (NJC) Can Investigate, Exercise Disciplinary Powers over Erring Judicial Officers in the Constitution”, Sulaiman through a signed Statement which was made available to newsmen on Monday, maintained that the nation could not only rely on the verdict of the NJC in dealing with the corrupt judicial officers in the country, stressing that the body has also guilty of the complicity of corrupt practices that have battered the image of the judiciary in recent past.
According to him: “We may not agree with the recent Gestapo method being applied by the Executive arm of government in fighting corruption in the judiciary, particularly, within those entrust with the temple of justice but the menace of corruption has destroyed the image of the judiciary as the last hope of common man. Let me refer to the recent verdict of compulsory retirement handed down on the courageous and incorruptible Justice Olamide Folahanmi Oloyede of Osun State High Court, for daring to call for thorough and credible investigation into the alleged mismanagement of Public funds by Mr. Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola.
“NJC led by Justice Mahmud Muhammed, now, fraudulently used the newly rule 1(1) and 5 of the 2016 Revised Code of Conduct for Judicial officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to sanction incorruptible Justice Olamide Oloyede for the alleged unsubstantiated offences committed in June 2015 while the 2014 National Judicial Council –Judicial discipline Regulations were invoked for Judicial Officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and this is a clear violation of NJC rules by attending to the Petition authored by the criminals and diabolical personalities.
It is a shame on NJC leadership now that all the members of the Executive arm of government which they were doing their bidding in subverting the cause of justice against their officers were not there to save them from the current onslaught.
“The National Judicial Council (NJC) which saddles with the responsibility of discipline the erring Judicial Officers had lost its credibility for guilty of complicity in the series of allegations of corruption leveled against the judicial officials. By this development, Nigeria State cannot rely on the ability of the NJC in cleansing of the judicial arm of government of corruption, so as to quickly restore its lost glory within the shortest possible time”.
Sulaiman who doubles as Chairman, Civil Societies Coalition for the Emancipation of Osun State (CSCEOS), therefore called on the authority concerned to fine tune new democratic measure and strategy in dealing with the cancer of corruption ravaging the temple of justice in the land.
COMRADE ADENIYI, ALIMI SULAIMAN,
EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN, CENTRE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOCIAL JUSTICE (CHRSJ)