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NJC shields judicial officers accused of misconduct

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PHOTO: Channelstv

PHOTO: Channelstv

Outlaws media reports on allegation against judges

The National Judicial Council (NJC) yesterday inaugurated a 10-man Judicial Ethics Committee with a mandate to review the code of conduct for judicial officers in the country.

The council also launched a new judicial policy that bars the media from publishing allegations of misconduct against judges and other employees of the judiciary.

The new policy document states: “It shall be the policy of the Judiciary on complaints that allegations of misconduct against judicial officers or employees of the judiciary shall not be leaked or published in the media.”

Section 2.2.4 to Section 2.2.9 of the new National Judicial Policy reads: “Where complaints on allegations against judicial officers and court employees are submitted for investigation, the complainant or complainants shall be made to give an undertaking not to do anything to prejudice investigation or actions that may be taken.”

The committee, which is headed by former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Idris Legbo Kutugi, also has the former Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), Justice Emmanuel Ayoola, as a member.

Other members of the committee include former President, Court of Appeal, Justice Umaru Abdullahi, President, National Industrial Court, Justice Babatunde Adejumo, Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory, Justice Ishaq Bello, President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN), two retired Justices of the Supreme Court as well as a former President of the NBA, Chief Okey Wali (SAN).

At the inaugural ceremony held at the National Judicial Institute, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mahmud Mohammed, tasked members to ensure continuous high standard of judicial accountability and probity.

The CJN, who expressed worry about complaints regarding the capacity of the nation’s judicial system to deliver justice, said the launched National Judicial Policy would provide principles that would ensure an efficient, effective and transparent judicial system.

“It is, indeed, a privilege to witness and celebrate the launch of the National Judicial Policy 2016, which will herald a steady transformation of the Nigerian Judiciary,” said Mohammed.

“This document is a meticulous, considered and well-drafted response to calls for the Judiciary to reform and harmonise its standards.

“I am therefore pleased to say, following great efforts by the Council, that this policy will indeed tick the right boxes, while launching this great institution, the Nigerian Judiciary, into a new level and trajectory that will signal the re-birth, re-invigoration and rededication to nobler values that distinguish us.”

The National Judicial Policy is borne out of the realisation that the “Nigerian Judiciary had been adversely affected by the absence of a clear, coordinated policy framework that defines its core morals, values, objects and aspirations.

“Such concerns have bordered upon the need to make qualitative and integrity-driven dispensation of justice, which is transparent, honest and trustworthy, the hallmark of our transformed Judiciary.

“We could not ignore the fact that, today, we are faced with misguided impressions as to the operations of our Judiciary, while its more laudable qualities and achievements are arcane to some fellow Nigerians.

“Thus, our resolve and commitment to a publicly accessible, value-and-integrity driven policy for our courts, caused some of the brightest minds in the Judiciary to be gathered together in order to create a clear and credible road map towards the transformation in the Judiciary that fellow citizens expect in Nigeria.

Certainly, the absence of a blueprint has resulted in a demand for the transformation of the Nigerian Judiciary into a modern judicial system.



16 Comments
  • infinity2020

    NJC you are banning journalist from exposing the rot in the NJC. what type of a god forsaken country is Nigeria? This commission must be disbanded. You constitute a major stumbling block on the wheel of Nigerias progress No corrupt free judiciary No corrupt free Nigeria .NJC must be dismantled. Its an evil entity ! ! ! !

  • infinity2020

    We have the freedom of information in the constitution . Every body has the right to know what is going on. NJC do not create any immunity through the back door for your members. The time for business as usual is over ! ! 1 ! Dont do anything you dont want anybody to know ! ! !

    • Hah!

      Indeed. NJC have lost its credibility as a result of the recent brouhaha. creating illegal immunity through the back door for its members shall be resisted by all means.

    • EyeServis

      Perhaps you may want to view the wordings of the ‘ban’ statement more carefully. In particular, look at what it says about (Section 2.2.4 to Section 2.2.9 of the new National Judicial Policy reads:) “Where complaints on allegations against judicial officers and court employees are submitted for investigation, the complainant or complainants shall be made to give an undertaking NOT TO DO ANYTHING TO PREJUDICE INVESTIGATION OR ACTIONS that may be taken.”

      • In whatever legal guise you want to put it the NJC is trying to hide facts and as such it will not work. It would be resisted by Nigerians at all level. Are information about citizens hidden from media glare or are the judges different? Oh! they are the only ‘learned ones’; the almighty ‘learned colleagues’. There is freedom of information at all levels. Let it prevail, no segregation and or segmentation in that regards. NO TO THAT POLICY…Tell your so called Judges and lawyers to behave themselves…

  • Olami

    Hummmmmmmmm Nigeria for you, dictatorial judiciary. Shielding judicial officials is a crime against humanity, and this should be rejected and unacceptable. What kind of Nigeria is this for God sake. What do they want hide, regulating yourself doesn’t mean shielding the institution from the public. They should remember that judiciary are public servants who were there at expenses of taxpayers money so any misconduct by the judiciary should be reported by the media because the judiciary is not and will not be a private entity. Period

  • EyeServis

    Meanwhile, we must also remember that the current CJN’s term is coming to an end soon. And, based on seniority as is the norm, the next CJN should be a certain Justice Onoghen or something like that. Now, Justice Onnoghen on account of age will only spend perhaps a year or two following which he becomes due for retirement himself. Now, this same Justice Onnoghen am told is the first substantive CJN from the south in over 20 years which i find most intriguing.

    Nigeria being what it is, and we know what a country it is, i have to wonder whether there is any nexus between the recent gestapo tactics of the executive/presidency’s enforcer agency – DSS and the coming musical chairs happening and about to happen in the next year or two at the top echeleon and leadership of the judiciary? I suggest anyone who cares to should consider reading a sun news’ piece by a certain Ralph Egbu entitled “New Chief Justice of Nigeria and DSS intrigues”. I dont know him, have never read from him before but read it today and it certainly did give me food for thought.

    Finally. No. I am not a legal or para-legal person. I am not a politician a la no party membership. Just a genuinely concerned Nigerian.

  • isaac orogun

    The
    thinking of the out going CJN in setting up this committee towards sanitizing
    of the judiciary is a step in the right direction, particularly in the light of
    the recent publicized questionable conduct of the DSS against some of its judges.
    Nevertheless, I think that it will be good to review the constitution such that a good
    and reputable retired CJN is made the chairman of the NJC instead of a serving
    CJN so that there can be fair hearing if there are complaints also against the
    serving CJN and other judges of the supreme court from the public or from the
    judiciary itself.

  • isaac orogun

    The
    thinking of the out going CJN in setting up this committee towards the sanitizating
    the judiciary is a step in the right direction, particularly in the light of
    the recent publicized questionable conduct of the DSS against some of its judges.
    Nevertheless, I think that it will review the constitution, such that a good
    and reputable retired CJN is made the chairman of the NJC instead of a serving
    CJN so that there can be fair hearing if there are complaints also against the
    serving CJN and other judges of the supreme court from the public or from the
    judiciary itself.

  • isaac orogun

    The
    thinking of the out going CJN in setting up this committee towards sanitizing
    the judiciary is a step in the right direction, particularly in the light of
    the recent publicized questionable conduct of the DSS against some of its judges.
    Nevertheless, I think that it will be good to review the constitution, such that a good
    and reputable retired CJN is made the chairman of the NJC instead of a serving
    CJN so that there can be fair hearing if there are complaints also against the
    serving CJN and other judges of the supreme court from the public or from the
    judiciary itself.

  • Chukwu

    But who doesn’t know members of the so called njc and those corrupt judges are partners in corruption. Can a leopard live without its spots?

  • hiro hiro

    Ogboni cult of judges and lawyers, Nigerians rise up against these evil people before it is too late. The Chief Justice is protecting his cult members and Nigerians must do needful to extricate our nation from these cultists.

  • yinka

    Buhari should replace the CJN with an upright person with integrity and stop the nonsense of the next person line. The currently system of next in line is what creates the massive corruption in the Supreme and High court. Buhari should do the same thing he did in NCS.

  • Aminu Baba

    @EyeService: The caveat set by NJC to prevent leakage should equally be checkmated by setting a time limit for treating petitions and a transparent feedback mechanism for status of active cases. That way, the whistle blower would feel less agitated to warrant his going to the press. In any case the law of libel is always there for mistreated judges to use in dealing with careless reporting

  • Alliboy

    This really proves that the NJC has a lot to to hide and is fantastically corrupt!
    Thanks be to the Lord for the swift action of the DSS on the arrest of the alleged corrupt justices and judges as these have opened up the canker worms and heinous judicial bureaucratic bottlenecks that is or has eaten very deep in the judiciary and NJC!!
    I trust the Nigeria media, as they will fight tooth and nail and will never rest on it’s oars to unravel any hint on corrupt practice by any judicial officer(s)!!!
    Lastly, this dramatic judicial twist and turn dance by the NJC, does it not contravene the Freedom of Information Act?! The more reason why the media will never allow this matter to settle in the wake of this unfortunate move!!!!

  • Alliboy

    This really proves that the NJC and some judicial officers, lawyers, judges, and members of staff, has a lot to to hide and is fantastically corrupt!
    Thanks be to the Lord for the swift action of the DSS on the arrest of the alleged corrupt justices and judges as these have opened up the canker worms and heinous judicial bureaucratic bottlenecks that is or has eaten very deep in the judiciary and NJC!!
    I trust the Nigeria media, as they will fight tooth and nail and will never rest on it’s oars to unravel any hint on corrupt practice by any judicial officer(s)!!!
    Lastly, this dramatic judicial twist and turn dance by the NJC, does it not contravene the Freedom of Information Act?! The more reason why the media will never allow this matter to settle in the wake of this unfortunate move!!!!