A growing trend within the Nigerian judicial system has been brought to the fore by the erstwhile Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega. Jega said some corrupt judges within the Nigerian judicial system contribute in no small measure to the issues bedevelling the nation, adding that they usually use their positions in election tribunals to subvert justice by selling judgements to the highest bidder while enriching themselves. He said these judges sold judgments to the highest bidders and turn around to retire quickly all in a bid to avoid sanctions by the National Judicial Council. The former electoral commission boss who is also the former Vice Chancellor of Bayero Univeristy made the revelation while delivering a keynote speech in Ibadan at the Owolabi Afuye Memorial Lecture organised by the Nigerian Bar Association.
The former INEC boss noted that these corrupt officials were part of the problems of the nation as they fuel underdevelopment and insecurity. These they do by setting aside the ethics of their profession to rather fill their pockets. According to him, many judges are now notorious for corruptly enriching themselves and is especially through election matters generally and specifically in election tribunals. He noted that when lawyers employ technicalities to subvert justice and ‘win’ cases, they are basically contributing to ruining the peaceful coexistence and security the country enjoys.
According to him, these judicial officers disregard all the ethics of their profession and rather put their own needs at the fore-front of their practice. “These judicial officers disregard all the ethics of their profession and rather put their own needs at the fore-front of their practice”,he said. Jega who is presently the only INEC chariman to have overseen two Nigerian General Elections which is the 2011 and 2015, says this issue needs to be dealt with by the legal regulatory bodies in order to set the country on the right path.
He also noted that many have been killed and their properties stolen with many Nigerians equally staying in Internally Displaced Persons Camp for long since their homes are no longer safe with the constant threat of attack from bandits, putting uncertainty in the future of their children.
Many things have gone so bad that many are now even seeing Nigeria as a failed project. Meanwhile, the former INEC Chairman had opined that restructuring must be carried out before the 2023 general elections. This he says will help address some fundamental challenges facing the country.