MAJORITY of the judges nominated for probable appointment as heads of the proposed anti-corruption specialised courts failed the integrity test being conducted by security agencies, Thenigerialawyer learnt on Sunday evening.
Thenigerialawyer learnt that the major criteria are that the nominee must be a bold judge that does not give sentimental judgments.
One hundred judges selected from courts across the country by the leadership of the judiciary were reportedly placed before security agencies for a deeper look into their stewardship, before the final pick for the sensitive assignment.
Thirty-seven specialised courts are reportedly being planned by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in all the states and Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, to solely and speedily try alleged looters.
An involved security source told the Nigerian Tribune that the assignment was yet to be concluded, because majority of those picked for screening failed the integrity test.
Those picked by the judiciary were said to have been carefully selected as the best of the pack.
The source further disclosed that fresh nominations had to be made for consideration, after majority of those initially provided could not scale the integrity hurdles.
The source added that the development had elongated the exercise because such delicate assignment must be conducted diligently, in order not to add to the problem which their appointment was meant to solve.
When asked about the statistics of performance, the source said though some of the nominees scaled the hurdle, a lot of them could not.
“You know what judiciary is like in Nigeria today. The entire place (judiciary) is in a complete mess,” the source said, though it could not say exactly when the screening exercise would end.
The source also faulted the comment credited to Professor Itse Sagay, head of the presidential advisory committee on anti-corruption war, calling on suspected looters to take the advantage of its existence to return stolen wealth in exchange for reduced punishment.
“Either Sagay or his committee cannot make such an offer. It is not within their power to do that. That can never be part of their brief,” the source added.
It said Sagay’s committee would do well by having an interface with anti-corruption bodies and other relevant security bodies in the country and know more about their workings before making any recommendations to the president.
When asked if such contact had been made by the committee, the source answered in the negative, though certain that the desired interface would still happen.
When the Thenigerialawyer contacted Sagay on the modalities and the call by Nigerians for an unconventional method for fighting corruption, he said the committee was open to suggestions that would effectively tackle corruption.
On the call for the involvement of other professional bodies and prosecuting looters more on tax evasion on illegally-acquired properties, Sagay welcomed the idea as long as it would take care of looters and their activities.
He was, however, silent on whether such propositions were included in his committee’s framework.