Corrupt judges are a disgrace to Africa – NGO

A non-government organisation has described the recent events unfolding around issues of alleged corruption of Nigeria judges as a huge embarrassment to the continent.

The Executive Director of African Renaissance Project (ARP), Dr. Kwame Kobina, stated this at Kotoka International Airport, Accra, Ghana on his way to the 4th International Conference on Democracy and the Rule of Law in Africa, scheduled for Banjul, Gambia by the weekend.

He decried the rate of decay and the spate of scandals among the judiciary in Africa as a bad sign for democracy.

According to him, Nigerian Judges are fast getting a bad reputation for themselves and the continent.

In 2013, senior Nigerian Judge who was then former Acting Chief Judge of Gambia, Justice Joseph Wowo was sacked after he was caught on tape soliciting bribes from a Dutch businessman in exchange for favourable judgment. He was planning to subvert justice in a land case pending in his court.

The accused judges, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta and Justice Inyang Okoro should be prosecuted and sanctioned without delay. There are many others.

Ricky Tarfa was once prosecuted for giving a senior judge before who he had a pending matter some ‘money for burial’. Many friends of Nigeria at times wonder about what we read in the media. How did that notorious former governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili get a perpetual injunction preventing him from being prosecuted from corruption? Where else has this happened in the world?

He called on the National Judicial Council to desist from ridiculing the temple of Justice by seeking to protect corrupt Judges and defending what he described as ‘indefensible’ allegations.

Instead what observers all over the world are expecting from them is to join President Muhammadu Buhari in the fight against corruption. According to him even in Ghana, 22 judges were arrested, arraigned and dismissed from service.

In Italy recently 16 Judges were arrested by the police and I billion Euros recovered from them.

He commended the Nigerian Bar Association(NBA) for a firm position in support of the suspension of the judges.

Kobina further stated that Nigerian judges are not all bad eggs as many of them have excelled in other parts of the continent.

He mentioned exemplary Judges like Justice Udo Udoma who once served as Chief Judge of Uganda and Justice Akinola Aguda who was formerly Chief Judge of Botswana.

The International conference is a biennial continent-wide event that brings together civil society organisations to review issues relevant to democracy and rule of law in the continent.

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