‘Seun Ibukun-Oni, Abuja
DAILY COURIER – The immediate past President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Olumide Akpata, has blamed politicians for the corruption in the judiciary, saying they had captured the sector.
Akpata, who spoke at a panel session at the ongoing International Bar Association (IBA) conference in the United States of America (USA), said they recognised the judiciary as their route to political power.
He said they consolidate their hold on the sector by hijacking judicial officers’ appointment process, paying judges poorly and generally starving the judiciary of funds.
Akpata stated this in a video published by The Nigeria Lawyer.
Addressing a panel at the IBA session, he said: “Judiciary capture is no longer as brazen as it was before but it is insidious, and in my jurisdiction what happens is that from the point of view of appointment, the process is opaque, so people, who ought not to be on the Bench, get to the Bench.
“Then the judiciary is also starved of funds. There is no financial autonomy, so the judiciary has to go to the executive for everything it needs, including their salaries. They are poorly paid and as such, they are not able to function optimally.
“Thirdly, there is intimidation which includes raids on the homes of Judges by 11, 12 midnight.
“Lastly, there is the brazen corruption, where they just offer them bribes.
“Now, the whole point is this: in my jurisdiction and many parts of the continent, the Judiciary is seen as the way to political power, so you find out that the Supreme Court can decide that the guy who came third on the ballot is actually the governor of a state or he’s the president.
“So, because the politicians recognize that the way to political power now is the judiciary, what they do is they take charge of the appointment process, they make sure the judiciary is never well paid to make sure that the system does not work.”
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, for the third time in the last three months, recently warned politicians to refrain from interfering with the operations of the Judiciary.
“Let the politicians leave the Judiciary alone for us to function,” the CJN said on October 30 during a reception held in his honour by the Oyo State Government.”