Senior Lawyers Know Corrupt Judges – CJN | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Senior Lawyers Know Corrupt Judges – CJN

Posted: Sep 22, 2015 at 12:25 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

•  Dismisses Calls To Abolish SAN Rank

By Tony Ezimakor


Chief Justice of Nigeria,  Justice Mahmud Mohammed, on Monday, told the nation’s senior lawyers to come forward to disclose the identity of corrupt judges and shun unguarded comments about rabid corruption in the system.

Speaking at a special session of the Supreme Court to mark  the 2015/2016 legal year and swearing-in of newly conferred Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Justice Mohammed urged the senior lawyers to fish out the corrupt judges so that they can be properly dealt with by the National Judicial Council (NJC).

Chief Justice Mahmud Mohammed

Chief Justice Mahmud Mohammed

The CJN also urged the 21 newly sworn-in Senior Advocates to display utmost integrity and professional candour in their new role and assist  the court in quick dispensation of justice.

Justice Mahmud maintained that the appointment of members of the inner bar is still very relevant in the judicial system, dismissing calls for abolition of  award of the silk to deserving senior lawyers, a practice he said is backed by Section 5 (1) of the Legal Practitioners Act, “as statutory recognised privilege”.

“As much as I will concede that the system of conferment  may require reforms, its abolition will be tantamount to proverbially throwing away the baby with the bath water. In any event, none of us here can decisively abolish the rank,” he said.

The CJN however noted that abolition of the SAN award falls squarely within the purview of the National Assembly and urged the legal practitioners to close rank and seek constructive solutions to the challenges confronting the legal profession.

The CJN observed  that this year’s conferment was unique in the history of SAN appointment as five candidates allowed to appeal earlier disqualification were successful with two of these persons  dully confirmed for the appointment.

“I am proud to say that only the best equipped candidates, both intellectually and materially were shortlisted for the conferment of the SAN title,” he stressed.

Justice Mahmud called for a synergy between the bar and the bench to ensure that only fit and proper persons remain in practice and promised to strengthen collaboration to encourage a virile bar bench relationship.

Also speaking at the occasion, Alhaji Abdullahi Yola, Solicitor General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary in the ministry of Justice, who stood in for the yet to be appointed Attorney General and Minister of Justice,  restated the role the judiciary has to play in the anti-corruption crusade of the present administration, and urged both the bar and bench not to allow the merit of cases before them to become lost in the midst of legal technicalities.

The President of Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Augustine Alegeh (SAN), condemned the recent face-off between the Code of Conduct Tribunal and the Federal High Court saying, describing it as an unnecessary distraction.

He said:”The constitutional hierarchy of our courts is well settled and we urge all to respect it.

“This is not good for our judiciary. Let wise counsel prevail,” he counseled.

He congratulate the new silks on their elevation to the inner bar, urging them to be good ambassadors of the bar and worthy mentors to their junior colleagues.

Kola S. Okeaya-Inneh (SAN), speaking on behalf of the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria, stressed the need to look into the mode of principle in which  appointment of members of the judiciary and mode of appointment are being made.

He added that “there is a pressing need for the law school to go back  to the first principles in the training, such that those that are called to the bar are able to cope with the challenges posed by the justice delivery system in the 21st century.”

The ceremony was well attended by the Vice President Yemi Osibanjo, the fomer Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mariam Aloma Muhktar, 11 state governors and other relevant stakeholders.