NJC Backtracks, Suspends Judges Accused Of Corruption
After weeks of pressure from several quarters, the National Judicial Council (NJC) has decided to ask the judicial officers being investigated for alleged corruption to step aside until their cases have been concluded.
Soji Oye, spokesman of the council, disclosed this in a statement issued on Thursday.
He said the council had agreed that judicial officers could not be standing trial and performing judicial functions at the same time.
“Council also decided that judicial officers shall not be standing trial for alleged corruption related offences and be performing judicial functions at the same time,” the statement by Oye read.
“Council however decided that it will ensure that judicial officers who are being investigated for alleged high profile criminal offences do not perform judicial functions until their cases are concluded.”
The spokesman said the NJC had setup a transparency and anti-corruption policy implementation committee to ensure transparency and eliminate corruption in the judiciary.
Oye said the committee would be chaired by Justice E. O. Ayoola, (Rtd Justice of the Supreme Court) and would have Justices Kashim Zannah, Chief Judge of Borno State and A. B. Mahmoud, President Nigeria Bar Association as members.
“Section 6 of the National Judicial Policy aims at putting in place multifaceted strategies and guidelines that will ensure transparency and eliminate corruption in the judiciary,” it read.
“It seeks, amongst other measures, to provide a platform and opportunity to citizens who profess factual and credible knowledge of information on the nature and modalities of corruption in the judicial system to ventilate such.”
The travails of the judges, who have denied the allegations, started after the Department of State Services (DSS) raided their houses early October.
Some of the affected judges are Sylvester Ngwuta and Inyang Okoro of the supreme court, Mohammed Tsamiya, presiding justice of the court of appeal, Ilorin division, Kabiru Auta, Kano state high court; Adeniyi Ademola, federal high court, Abuja; I. A. Umezulike, former chief judge of Enugu state; and Muazu Pindiga, federal high court, Gombe Division.