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“Anger At Judiciary Worries Me” – Chief Justice Of Nigeria, Mahmud

“Anger At Judiciary Worries Me” – Chief Justice Of Nigeria, Mahmud

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The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mahmud Mohammed, yesterday appealed to Nigerians not to lose faith in the judiciary over allegations of corruption leveled against its members.
It was the second time the CJN was making a statement in reaction to the arrest of seven judges earlier in the month by the Department of Security Service (DSS) for alleged professional misconduct and corruption.
The arrests and revelations of recovery of millions of foreign and local currencies in the judges’ houses in different parts of the country have generated a lot of reactions from many Nigerians, with most of them accusing the judiciary of shielding corrupt officials.
But Justice Mohammed said the Third Arm of government was on the same page as the executive in its ongoing crackdown on corruption in every sector.
He said the judiciary would on its own hand over corrupt judicial officers to the executive arm of government for prosecution, so far a prima facie case was established against such officers.
The CJN, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant, H. S. Sa’eed, said he was worried by the “rising antagonism” against the judiciary and begged Nigerians to continue to have faith in it.
“Under the powers provided by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and as the Head of the Third Arm of Government, the Honourable, the Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman National Judicial Council, Honourable Justice Mahmud Mohammed, GCON is calling on all Nigerians to continue to have faith and full confidence in the Nigerian Judiciary,” the statement said.
“The Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria is indeed deeply concerned by the rising antagonism over the recent arrest of our judicial officers and other issues pertaining thereto,” it said.
Justice Mohammed said there was no rift between the executive and the judiciary or any other arm of government, adding that the judiciary was not in any way on trial.
The judiciary’s position over the arrest of the judges, according to him, should not be misconstrued to mean that it was shielding corrupt judicial officers.
“Furthermore, it must be reiterated that the current misunderstanding is only between the National Judicial Council (NJC), which was established by the Constitution and the Directorate of the State Security (DSS), in the Presidency. Hence, we must emphasize that the Judiciary continues to maintain cordial relations with the other arms of government, that is, the Executive and the National Assembly.
“The Hon. CJN reiterates that the Nigerian judiciary, as an arm of the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is not a party in this matter, nor is the Nigerian judiciary on trial,” he said.
He also faulted the call by the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, A. B. Mahmoud, SAN, for the affected judicial officers to be asked to step aside, saying the call was “unnecessary and hasty as the said judicial officers are still being investigated by the DSS. Furthermore, the DSS is yet to forward any complaint or any official communication regarding the seven judicial officers to the National Judicial Council.”
“Indeed, some of the affected judicial officers have already been investigated by the NJC, which found some culpable and recommended their removal from office by dismissal or retirement to the resident and respective governors as provided under the constitution. While some are still being investigated by the NJC, in respect of others, no complaint against them has been received by the NJC whose powers to suspend must be exercised in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution establishing it.
“The National Judicial Council is currently investigating the various complaints made against a number of judicial officers. As soon as such investigations are completed, appropriate recommendations will be made to the president or governors, as the case may be, who will have the final say on the fate of the affected judicial officers who could then be charged for the offences disclosed from the facts against them and be prosecuted if necessary.”
The CJN, however, maintained that the midnight raiding of the houses of the judicial officers by operatives of the DSS amounted to an attack against the independence of the judiciary.
“The Hon. Chief Justice of Nigeria also wishes to state in clear terms that the ‘sting’ operations carried out by the DSS on 07 and 08 October 2016 was certainly an assault on the independence of the Nigerian Judiciary. Nonetheless, the judiciary fully supports the anti-corruption drive of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammdu Buhari, GCFR. The Nigerian judiciary has never and will never shield any judicial officer who is found to be guilty of corruption, however, the Hon. CJN believes that due process and the rule of law must be followed.
“As a testament to our commitment to uphold the Constitution, the Nigerian Judiciary continues to function and our courts remain open to all who seek remedy.
“With the support and good will of all Nigerians, the Nigerian Judiciary will continue to serve with all its heart and might,” he added.



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