- Femi Falana, a senior lawyer in Nigeria, says it is easy to find corrupt judges in the country
- Falana reveals that top lawyers in the country know all corrupt judges and court officials
- He also suggests ways to make the judiciary more successful and running efficiently
A senior lawyer and human rights activist, Femi Falana, has revealed that most of the corrupt judges as well as court officials in Nigeria are known.
Falana said top lawyers in the country know all the corrupt judges adding that information about them are freely circulated.
The human rights lawyer, who presented a paper on Thursday, October 5, in Ekiti state, said Nigerians who have made payments to corrupt judges know them.
“If the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) is committed to the eradication of judicial corruption, it has the capacity to do so. With 120 branches spread across the country, the NBA can police judges, lawyers and court officials with a view to stamping out corrupt practices.
“When the Ghana Bar Association was paying lip service to corruption, a journalist decided to video record judges who were negotiating and collecting bribes. At the end of the recording he exposed, named and shamed the indicted judges. They were promptly investigated by the Ghana Judicial Council and dismissed from the bench.
“Because the NBA was condemning corruption without adopting any concrete measures to stop it, the security and anti-graft agencies recently seized the initiative and arrested judges in the dead of the night to the eternal embarrassment of the legal profession.
“To prevent any further embarrassment of our judges, the NBA and NJC ought to adopt an inbuilt mechanism for exterminating the menace of corruption from the bar and bench.
“Although the right of every person to access justice in Nigeria is constitutionally guaranteed, the quality of justice obtainable is determined by their economic wherewithal under the prevailing peripheral capitalist system.
“Notwithstanding the denial of access to justice by socioeconomic factors the human rights community has ensured the relaxation of locus standi in public interest litigation and its complete abolition in the enforcement of human rights,” NAIJ.com reports Falana as saying.
The lawyer said the country needed judges who are prepared to insist that their hands cannot be tied by unjust laws to do injustice no matter the circumstances.
“It is not sufficient for our judges to quote Lord Denning with relish. Our judges must emulate him by ensuring that the gates of our courts are flung open to citizens with genuine grievances.
“Like Justice Krishner Iyer of India our judges must actualise the socioeconomic rights enshrined in Chapter 2 of the Constitution and not leave them inchoate and barren.
“Like Justice Akinola Aguda, our judges must always realize that the law can be used to promote social justice in a manner that the commonwealth is not concentrated in the hands of a few while majority of the people wallow in abject poverty.
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“And like Chief Gani Fawehinmi SAN who successfully defeated the anachronistic doctrine of locus standi our lawyers should challenge other obnoxious laws and legal principles which have denied the Nigerian people access to justice.”
“To check the growing culture of executive lawlessness and official impunity in the country public interest litigation ought to be encouraged and promoted.
“To this effect the anachronistic doctrine of locus standi should be abolished. The doctrine of locus standi should be relaxed in public interest cases as laid down by the Supreme Court in Fawehinmi v Akilu,” Falana said among other things.
NAIJ.com earlier reported how the Centre for Anti-corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) slammed the National Judicial Council (NJC) for recalling some allegedly corrupt judges recently.
According to CACOL, which backed the presidency’s decision to retry the judges, the action of the judges is not only immoral, it is retrogressive.
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