Prof Ernest Ojukwu, SAN

* Justice Tokode should have been dismissed

The recent actions taken by the NJC on the discipline of judges must be greatly commended. Most of the decisions are bold and courageous and the decisions would in no small measure send the right signals to all especially lawyers from the Bar.

We have had a rising trend in corrupt practices from the bar. Many have complained that the bar has not been sending her most competent and ethically balanced members to the bench. This case of Justice Tokode is an example of the rot in the bar where as stated by the NJC the Judge misled the Federal Judicial Service Commission and the National Judicial Council, by submitting six judgments he claimed to have personally conducted while practicing as a lawyer; a pre-requisite for his application for appointment as a Judicial Officer, and was so appointed.

“The Investigation Committee of Council however found that the Hon. Judge personally conducted only one of the six cases submitted.”

Nothing could be more heinous than that where a practicing lawyer would present false evidence of qualification to be appointed a judge. It is on this basis that I think that the NJC got it wrong when it recommended a retirement of the judge. This judge or lawyer should have just been dismissed. That is the only way to deter other lawyers from attempting to corrupt the Judiciary. I call upon the NJC to revisit their recommendation for retirement and rather recommend dismissal.

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