From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin
Former President of Court of Appeal, Justice Isa Ayo Salami has expressed his displeasure over corruption that has enveloped the judicial system in Nigeria.
Salami, who stated this at the formal opening ceremony of the ‘2014 Bi-ennial Law Week’ of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ilorin branch, accused some judges of aiding corruption.
The former President of Court of Appeal said “the problem of corruption in the judiciary is real and has eaten deep into the system. It must however be noted that it is not every judicial officer that is corrupt and dishonourable.
“There are some who are clearly identifiable as corrupt but they are protected by the system. There are those who lack courage and their timidity is exploited to pervert the course of justice.
We hear constantly that the lack of courage of these ones are exploited by either their colleagues or retired senior judges who practice as consultants in fixing judgments.
“These consultants take money from litigants to give judges or intimidate judges to pervert justice. It is my respectful view that appeal should be made to these retired senior justices to leave the despicable role of bribing or intimidating judges. They should engage themselves in other respectable vocations.
Salami said many judges live in opulence in Nigeria, owning as much as 16 vintage cars, in addition to having “houses which are talk-of-the-town in their community and furnished with exotic furniture”.
“I am emboldened in this affirmation by the recent happenings in Nigeria. In constituting the National Conference, a body to fashion a Constitution for Nigeria, only a seat was allocated to the NBA. The NBA did not protest this shabby treatment until well into the conference and it was properly ignored.
Salami, who appealed to the NBA leadership to fight for the common man, said the body’s leadership should not submit itself to the political leadership in return for patronage and financial assistance.