NJC Lack Will Power To Sanction Erring Judges – Legal Expert

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A former prosecutor at the Hague, Charles Adeogun-Phillips, has accused the Nigerian National Judicial Commission (NJC) of lacking the will-power to deal with erring judges in the country.

The NJC, chaired by the chief justice of the federation, has oversight over judges and their activities.


A cross-section of the Nigerian judges

A cross-section of the Nigerian judges

Adeogun-Phillips, while speaking at a live interview series on Friday August 28, said it was a misnomer for the NJC, therefore, to be given the responsibility to nominate 100 judges considered as having the proven integrity to preside over the 37 special courts being proposed by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s government to try corrupt Nigerians in the country.

Earlier reports revealed that majority of the judges failed the integrity test that should qualify them for the position.

The legal expert wondered why the NJC should even accept the responsibility to pick judges when, in the first instance, it has failed to sanction judges found wanting.

He asked repeatedly how the other judges not selected would feel to know that they have been considered as not having the integrity to support the current fight against corruption.

He argued that such move was a bad precedent as it would have been better for the vacancies to be thrown open for all judges, after which the screening would be done.

Apart from this, he further argued that it would have been better to have the special courts within the federal courts.

“I also disagree with the suggestion that you can select a hundred judges who you claim have integrity. What is the benchmark for measuring integrity? What message are you passing to the other judges?

“Just go out and look for fresh judges from the academia, or even open vacancy and screen.

“Don’t go down the line of creating a new cadre. It sends a wrong signal to the international community.

“It is the same institution, the NJC, that has oversight on the system that is being asked to select judges. If it knows the ones that do not have integrity, what has it done about that?

“It is a very dangerous approach,” he said.

Adeogun-Phillips explained that while he supports the Buhari administration’s fight against corruption, there is the need for the government to focus on the implementation of the electoral law that has to do with funding of candidates for elections.

To him, there is the link between corruption and electoral financing and that is the point that has not been emphasised in the fight against corruption”.

He charged: “There is an intrinsic link between election financing, politics and corruption.

“If I sponsor a candidate for election, what is the payback?”


He said it was necessary for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to scrutinise election funding and making sure political parties adhere to the rule.

He also called for the involvement of civil society and the media in the fight against corruption while urging his colleagues in the legal field as well as the anti-graft agencies in the country to live above board if the fight would be successful.

The post NJC Lack Will Power To Sanction Erring Judges – Legal Expert appeared first on Nigeria News today & Breaking news | Read on NAIJ.COM.

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