The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Justice, Dr. Ali Ahmad and the founding Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, Justice Mustapha Akanbi on Saturday said the punitive measures of the National Judicial Commission against some judges were welcome developments.
In separate telephone interviews with our correspondent in Ilorin, they argued that the measures would rid the judiciary of bad eggs, unethical and unwholesome practices and restore the confidence of Nigerians in the judiciary.
They commended the NJC and Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloma Mukhtar, for sanitising the judiciary.
The NJC under the headship of Aloma-Mukhtar had on Thursday suspended Justice Gladys Olotu of the Abuja Federal High Court and Justice U.A. Inyang of the Federal Capital Territory High Court for alleged gross misconduct.
The NJC forwarded a recommendation to President Goodluck Jonathan for their dismissal.
The NJC also issued warning letters to the Presiding Judge, Court of Appeal, Kaduna Division, Justice Dalhatu Adamu; Justice, A.A. Adeleye of the High Court of Justice, Ekiti State; and Justice D.O. Amaechina, High Court of Justice, Anambra State.
Ahmad said the development was a thing of joy, adding that the NJC had now started ‘biting.’
According to him, this will send a strong message to the nation’s judicial officers that they should rise above board.
He noted that though judicial officers were Nigerians, they should not behave like ordinary Nigerians and belittle their dignity and reputation.
“We know that in the past, those who aspired to be judges never looked out for money. It is the name and the honour that they looked out for. When judges are having houses all over the world, and having billions of naira in their account, you may begin to wonder where such huge wealth is coming from.
“Nigerians are smart, NJC should also be smarter because they know that NJC will be looking for personal accounts of judges; so NJC should be a step ahead of corrupt judges.
“The few corrupt judges have brought a bad reputation to the institution of the judicial sector. We commend the NJC and especially the chairman, the CJN who has decided to steer the NJC well and strengthen it.”
Akanbi, a former President of Court of Appeal, said the measure was a very good development.
He said a good way of fighting corruption in the judiciary was for the NJC to apply punitive measures against erring judicial officers.
“I am very happy. When the CJN visited me, I told her to ensure that she cleansed the judiciary of bad eggs and make the judiciary efficient.
“That will be in the best interest of the country. When the judiciary is good, every judge is working hard, things will be better in this country,” Akanbi said.