Anger In The Judiciary Over Attacks On Judges, Lawyers

Gale of Damning Judgments To Follow Buhari, Oyegun, Magu’s Comments
family-lawWe Are Not An Appendage Of The Executive- Lawyers

Remarks credited to President
Muhammadu Buhari, before the
International community to the
effect that the Nigerian judiciary is
his biggest headaches in the fight
against corruption, has not gone down well
with the bench, whose members have been
handling cases bordering on corruption President Muhammadu Buhari’s attendant moves to recruit 100 new judges, who will be incorruptible in his estimation, to handle corruption cases, did not also go down well with the bench, as such a move tantamount to passing a vote of no confidence on the present crop of judges handling such matters.
On their parts, members of the bar seems not to have taken lightly the indictment of Nigerian Lawyers for allegedly shielding criminals from justice, especially those being prosecuted for financial crimes, by the Chairman of the Economic and financial crimes Commission.
nationalTRAIL investigations reveal that judges felt generally embarrassed by Buhari’s veiled reference to the judiciary as having been compromised, which may have led to the gale of reversal of court verdicts on election matters that initially tended to favour the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
The Nigerian Bar Association NBA, had expected complementary remarks from the chairman of the EFCC, who had visited in solidarity with the fight against corruption, but were shocked when Magu looked at them in the face and told them that they were accomplices in frustrating the war against corruption, by the attitude of some of their members.
At a higher level, Judges of the Supreme Court, the apex court in the country, which is often presided over by the chief Judge of the Federation, are said to have been particularly irked by comments credited to the chairman of the APC, John Odegie Oyegun, to the effect that their verdicts on election petition appeals were not credible.
Findings reveal that, Both the President, Magu and Oyegun’s remarks were being regarded as a deliberate affront on the judiciary by the Buhari led-government, more so that the government followed up the comments by placing judges in the country under watch, with their accounts under constant surveillance for alleged corrupt tendencies.
Oyegun, was reported as calling for the probe of the Supreme Court, after it upheld the election of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, he was also quoted by a famous television station lamenting the loss of some states by his party through Supreme Court judgments.
Only last week, Magu, took the judiciary, when he accused some senior members of the bar of not only accepting tainted briefs, but also aiding crimes in some instances.
“ Society is not served, when prominent members of the bar not only take clearly tainted briefs, but even facilitate the commission of crimes by knowingly supplying technical know-how and later, helping in the dispersal of the proceeds of crime.
“ There are lawyers within the fold of the NBA who ought not to be among your noble ranks.”
Some members of the bench who spoke to our correspondent on conditions of anonymity said, while Magu and Oyegun’s remarks could be excused in the face of their seeming desperation to please their boss, the President’s comment, was scandalous having been made before an international audience, and no retraction has been made even when it became obvious that it infringed on the integrity of the nation’s judiciary.
The Chief Judge of the federation, Justice Mahmud was said to have explained the position of the judiciary in the scheme of things at a recent meeting with the President, so as to correct the erroneous impressions created, that, the judiciary is the antithesis of his government’s fight against corruption.
Further findings reveal that, Judges, at all levels are furious over their indictment, at a time they are trying to give their best in the service of the country, especially in assisting the executive arm to achieve its goals.
The judiciary is particularly piqued according to our findings, because they are being treated as an appendage of the executive, and not as an independent arm of government, with its clear cut constitutional roles, even as they are being undeservedly ridiculed by being singled out as being corrupt; knowing the executive to be more corrupt.
nationalTRAIL also that some members of both the bench and the bar, view this as not only interference, but a way of intimidating the judiciary to always do the bidding of the executive arm of the government.
Sources within the judicial circle confirmed to us that, the gale of reversals of earlier judgments which tended to initially favour President Muhammadu Buhari’s party, the APC by the Supreme Court might have been a way of expressing the judicial anger against the President, who they accuse of wanting all court verdicts to go his way and no other way.
A particular judge remarked that President Buhari should expect more damning judgments in the days ahead, unless he learns to show some modicum of respect for the legal profession and its practitioners, regarded as universally noble.
“If the president fails to realise that the judiciary is an independent arm of the same government that is equally recognised and accorded its own powers, and deserved to be respected, then he will feel the pangs of this equally important arm, mind you this is a democracy.”
The judge continued, “you can see even from the budgetary allocation for the judiciary, that this arm is not accorded the proper respect it deserves, is that the way our colleagues elsewhere in the world are treated?, where in the world does a judge still writes with his or her hand?, yet someone is insulting judges that they are corrupt, am not completely saying we are all angels, but what is our working environment like?”
Some judges told our correspondent that if the President continues with his scathing remarks against the judiciary, which is regarded as the conscience of democracy, he should not expect favourable judgments from the courts in cases where the executive has overwhelming interest.
President Muhammadu Buhari, was reported as saying that the fight against corruption is being hampered by the attitude of the judiciary, which has compelled him to contemplate recruiting 100 judges, considered as being incorruptible to try corruption cases across the country, during one of his trips abroad.
The president, had at a town hall meeting with Nigerians in Addis Ababa, on January 31, said that the ongoing fight against corruption could be more effective with the strong support of the judiciary.
He then told them that his biggest headache in the fight against the monster called corruption in the country was the judicial arm.


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