A retired President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami, on Tuesday alleged there were reports of some judges and retired senior judges who practise as consultants in fixing judgments.
He said that these consultants take money from litigants to give to judges or intimidate judges to pervert justice.
He spoke in Ilorin during the opening ceremony of the 2014 biennial law week of the Nigerian Bar Association, Ilorin branch. The summit was titled, ‘A centenary of legal practice in Nigeria: 1914-2014: Legacies and lessons for the next century.’
Salami said, “It is my respectful view that appeal should be made to these retired senior justices to leave the despicable role of bribing or intimidating judges. They should engage themselves in other respectable vocations.
“The judges, who lend themselves to these dishonourable practice of receiving money or lending themselves to perverting the course of justice under the guise of not receiving reward monetary or otherwise, should note that there are other means of checking the excesses.
“The problem of corruption in the Nigerian judiciary is real and has eaten deep into the system. It must, however, be noted that it is not all judicial officers that are corrupt and dishonorable. There are some who are clearly identifiable as corrupt but they are protected by the system.”
He also said the nobility of the law profession was waning.
Salami accused the leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association of having “meekly submitted to political leadership in return for patronage.”
He said consequently the NBA did not deserve any better treatment from the alleged shabby treatment meted out to it as a result of one seat that was allotted for the association at the National Conference, which NBA protested and pulled out of the confab.
The Chairman, NBA, Ilorin branch, Mr. Mobolaji Ojibara, decried lack of financial autonomy and full self-accounting status for the judiciary.
He said that 34 out of the 36 states in Nigeria had yet to implement financial autonomy for the judiciary.
According to him, only Bayelsa and Nasarawa states have ensured financial autonomy for their judiciary. He added that lack of judicial financial autonomy was inimical to dispensation of justice and efficiency of the judiciary.
The Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, said that the on-going national dialogue has the capacity to strengthen the tenets of national development and cohesion by healing age-long national wounds.
He appealed to lawyers to play greater role in the conference despite the NBA’s withdrawal from the confab.
He said the problem of democracy in the country did not arise from the perceived shortingcomings of the 1999 Constitution but due to the penchant of the political class to exploit the loopholes in the constitution. – Punch.