Wednesday, November 27, 2013

NBA urges EFCC to publish names of corrupt Judges under probe

Concerned about the level of corruption within the justice sector, the
Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, yesterday, urged the Economic and
Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to make public the names of all the
sitting Judges currently under investigation, saying it will be in the
interest of the nation to 'name and shame' such judicial officers.
Briefing newsmen in Abuja yesterday, the National President of the
NBA, Chief Okey Wali, SAN, said the National Executive Committee, NEC,
of the organization, at the end of its meting at Lafia, Nasarawa State
on November 22, "resolved to welcome prompt action on such
investigations and developments."
Nevertheless, NBA, said it would not stand by and watch politicians
rubbish the reputation of any good and hard working judge across the
federation through frivolous petitions to anti-graft agencies, noting
that "a situation where people go on air with impunity and make
allegations against members of the Bench, and are not called upon to
substantiate, cannot be good for our judiciary."
Consequently, it urged the NJC and security agencies to thoroughly
investigate such allegations, and when established, "punish the
Judicial officer involved and if the allegations is found to be false
and a mere smear campaign and blackmail, prosecute and punish the
person making such spurious allegation for false information.
Wali, SAN, said NEC of the legal body observed that it had kept
reading in the media that judgments were being investigated by EFCC,
lamenting that for the past one year, nothing substantial had come out
of such probe.
"The fact that we have had such reports coming out for the last one
year and nothing to show for it is not good for our system. Unless and
until we name and shame those that are being investigated, every Judge
is a suspect and that is not good for our morale.
"The NBA is worried over the fact that some politicians are beginning
to drag the Judiciary into their problems, in view of the fact that
all sought of orders and rulings are being procured. To this end, the
NBA-NEC resolved that it would not allow the judiciary to be
destroyed, and called on the NJC and NBA to rise to the occasion.
"While the NBA is determined to fight corruption on the Bench, the NBA
shall also seek the protection of our good and hardworking Judges, who
are in the majority. NBA will not allow politicians to destroy the
Bench with their well established culture of impunity.
"With regards to the members of the NBA involved in the unwholesome
act, the NBA-NEC resolved to move the NBA Disciplinary Machinery a
nudge higher to the corruption of filing frivolous applications, and
seeking orders that constitute abuse of court process to satisfy their
political clients, NEC, resolved not to allow this to continue towards
2015", he added.
On Anambra election, the NBA, said it views as very embarrassing and
unacceptable, the inconclusiveness of the November 16 Governorship
poll, "occasioned by operational and logistic challenges in an
election supervised by six National Commissioners, 15 Resident
Electoral Commissioners and a galaxy of permanent staff from the
contiguous states."
It maintained that INEC, has the powers to order for a supplementary
election, saying any of the parties dissatisfies with the decision
should go to court.
According to NBA, "The inconclusiveness of the said election and the
serious operational and logistics challenges that gave rise to the
supplementary elections have created serious doubts in the minds of
Nigerians, regarding the preparedness of the Independent National
Electoral Commission, INEC, to conduct acceptable elections in 2015.
"The NBA is also concerned that there apparently, still are, highly
compromised officials within the Commission and these officials have
been playing critical roles in the conduct of elections in Nigeria.
"NBA therefore recommends and canvasses that all the officials
identified to have compromised their oath of office and official
functions in the conduct of the Anambra Governorship elections should
be arrested and proceeded against in properly constituted courts.
"That INEC and the National Assembly must move fact and finalize the
promulgation of the Electoral Offences Commission Act to deal with the
arrest and prosecution of electoral offenders. Such a Commission will
be in a better position to deal with the challenges posed to our
electoral process by the brazen commission of electoral offences in
our electoral process.
"INEC must carry out a surgical operation of its processes and
procedures. It must tackle frontally the recurring challenges of
operational and logistic failure ahead of the 2015 general elections.
The INEC mist also intensify continuous voters' registration and weed
out the fraudulent names that are self evident in the current
register, as this is fundamental to the credibility of future
"All political parties and candidates who contested the November 16
Governorship elections in Anambra State should carry out their
protests within the ambit of the law and the constitution. The
complaints, petitions and grievances relating to the election, must
also conform with the provisions of the constitution and the electoral
Act. All the candidates and political parties must renew their faith
in the courts as their final arbiter in our electoral process."
Besides, NBA, while urging governments at all levels to compensate
victims of terrorism, said it supports the propo0sed National
Dialogue/Conference on the condition that the report shall be final,
binding, and validated by Nigerians through a referendum.

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