The former Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Dahiru Musdapher, has advocated for the declaration of a national emergency to cleanse the judiciary of erring judges.
Musdapher made the call while speaking at an Administration of Justice Summit organised by the Jigawa branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) on Tuesday in Dutse.
“We must declare a national emergency to root-out and punish erring judges no matter where they are found,” Musdapher said.
Musdapher, who was the chairman of the occasion, added that he had previously advocated the need to establish an independent agency that would be responsible for judicial discipline and enforcement of the Code of Conduct for judicial officers.
“I have previously advocated the need to establish an independent agency responsible for judicial discipline, removal and enforcement of the Code of Conduct for judicial officers.
“I strongly believe that self-regulation via the National Judicial Council has not been effective in overturning the rising tide of judicial malfeasance.
“And as such, it has become necessary to consider the merits of creating a separate institution to specifically deal with complaints, petitions, discipline and removal of judicial officers,” he added.
According to him, several commonwealth countries have such specialised institutions, specifically responsible for judicial discipline and removal.
“Therefore, considering the urgent need to obliterate the plague of judicial corruption and misconduct, a truly independent institution with the necessary safeguards to forestall the risk of eroding judicial independence must be seriously considered as a matter of urgency,” the former CJN said.
In his keynote address, Justice Abdu Aboki, the Presiding Justice of the High Court, Abuja Judicial Council, said that the conduct, behaviour and utterances of a Judge are public property.
“The conduct of the judge, his behaviour and utterances are public property. Because of the central position he occupies in the judicial process, the Judge himself is on trial.
“And so, he must, like Caesar’s wife of Roman fame and reputation, live above board to the sight and consumption of the litigating public and beyond,” Aboki said.
The summit has the theme: “Towards Ensuring Efficient Administration of Justice in Nigeria: The Role of Stakeholders”. (NAN)