CJN faults anti-graft war, Adoke backs judiciary cleansing
The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mariam Mukhtar, on Monday faulted the prosecution of the anti-corruption campaign in the country,describingit as a “gun-war” that is being fought withbows and arrows.
The CJN also warned that the manner in which the anti-graft war was being fought could turn those being prosecuted into heroes, while turning the fighters into victims.
Mukhtar spoke at the opening session of a seminar organised by the NigerianBar Association Anti-Corruption Commission.
The theme of the seminar is ‘Practical Ways to Combat Corruption in the Justice Sector in Nigeria’.
While admitting that Nigeria was not the only country afflicted by corruption, the CJN observed that the anti-corruption campaign in the country was manipulated by both the prosecutors of the campaign and the accused persons to gain personal and political points.
She said, “Anti-corruption war in Nigeria is like a gun-war being fought withbows and arrows. It is a war that can turn its fighters into victims and those being fought into heroes. It is a war that both sides manipulate to gain personal and political points. It is a ‘world’ of controversies, politics, extensive debates and high public exclamations.”
She noted that successive administrations had initiated measures to combat corruption, particularly with the establishment of the anti-graft agencies – the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission – which she described as “bodies established for the same purpose but through different modalities.”
But despite the establishment of the EFCC and ICPC, the CJN stressed that the battle was not yet over, and advocated a need “to look inwards as corruption has eaten deep into the systemic strata of the country.”
Mukhtar expressed regrets that the judiciary, which should be held in the highest esteem, had also been infected with the “virus” of corruption.
NBA President, Mr. Okey Wali, SAN, in an address at the event, noted that the judiciary was not doing enough in the anti-corruption campaign.
The NBA President accused some judicial officers taking bribes.
Meanwhile, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr.Mohammed Adoke, said the Federal Government would soon put in place a National Anti-Corruption Strategy.
He said the government was backing the ongoing cleansing of the judiciary by the CJN.
He however urged the NBA to rid the bar of corrupt elements to make the ongoing reforms of the judiciary meaningful.
Adoke said this in an address at the opening of the seminar.