Nigerians call for national judicial reform

Luqmon Balogun, Lagos

Nigerians have called for the reformation of the nation’s judicial system.

This comes against the backdrop of recent corruption allegation leveled against some judiciary officials in Nigeria.

According to a lawyer, Taiwo Adedeji said; “It’s quite unfortunate that such allegations are even coming up at all considering the position of judiciary in national development. And what that has done is a dent on the character of Judiciary system.”

Adedeji also said that judiciary has always been a dignified profession with untainted characters, but the recent corruption accusation has called for a robust step to ensure sanity is restored.

“Interestingly, this is a profession that commands respect and value in the world today, but unfortunately some unethical dispositions are beginning to infiltrate and this must be addressed,” Adedeji stressed.

Adedeji, who acknowledged inadequacies in the system, said that isolated cases of corruption could not be used to judge the system.

“You cannot use those isolated cases to put blanket coloration that the Judiciary is corrupt.” Adedeji said.

On the recent allegation by the Economic Financial and Crime Commission-EFCC that Judiciary has been a cog in the wheel of proper justice dispensation in Nigeria.

Adedeji advised the commission to conduct a thorough investigation, ferret concrete evidence and ensure that individuals involve are made to face the law in order to save the system.

Renewing public confidence
Nigerians believe the reform could paint a new picture of the temple of justice and restore public confidence in the system.

A Public commentator, Godwin Momoh said that the inability to present concrete evidence before the court has created the lapses observed.

“In the case of Femi Fani-kayode, there was no fact and that was why the case dragged for so long and dropped, but if there is a concrete fact like in case of the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, no one will cut corners,”  Momoh said.

He enjoined the security operatives to be more proactive in dealing with corruption case.

Warning Signal
Toyib Awobodu, a law student, said effort must be made to reducing corruption in the justice sector because, “it would reaffirm the strength of Judiciary which would send a warning signal to corrupt individuals in other sectors that judiciary can prosecute and punish any erring individuals.”

Awobodu maintained that taking steps against corruption in the justice system should be a first step in dealing with corruption in society as a whole.

Others who spoke on the issue called for a new judicial code of ethics that would reflect current realities and challenges to tackle judicial corruption in the country, in order to ensure that judges and the judicial system rise up to safeguard the nation’s democracy.