Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Mahmud Mohammed yesterday described corruption as a major problem in the judiciary.
The CJN spoke against the background of the security operation against two Supreme Court Justices and other judges, who are due to face corruption charges.
Justice Mohammed, Chairman NJC, said: “It would be stating the obvious to opine that the greatest single menace that challenges the justice system in Nigeria today is corruption.
“This endemic vice is not peculiar to any region and ethnic group, cutting across faiths, religious denominations, levels of education and economic status.
“Corruption has serious implications for both the rule of law and access to justice, and must be fought both institutionally and individually.
“This is why the National Judicial Policy contains clear provisions restating the Judiciary’s commitment to transparency and accountability.
“This is clearly spelled out in Paragraph 5.1 of the National Judicial Policy 2016, thus- ‘the National Judicial Policy recognizes that the greatest and most damaging challenge to administration of justice is corruption and that tackling this challenge must go beyond mere exhortation and sentiments.’
“The policy gives the legal backing for several multifaceted strategies and guidelines to be developed while the Judiciary continues to walk the talk in ridding corrupt Judicial Officers from its ranks, strictly in accordance with due process and the rule of law,” the CJN said.
Justice Mohammed, who spoke at the launch of the NJP, noted that the absence of such policy in the past has occasioned an uneven growth of the Judiciary.
“Certainly, the absence of a blueprint has resulted in a demand for the transformation of the Nigerian Judiciary into a modern judicial system.
“For a number of years, each Jurisdiction has had to muddle along in developing core values and objectives and this has led to a mixed bag of standards and policies.
“This has also been compounded by the challenging deprivations and paucity of resources, without which critical development was limited.
“The National Judicial Policy is a charter of commitment to the values that elevate not only our judicial institutions but also those who are employed by or involved in it.
“The importance of the foundational virtues of discipline, efficiency, integrity and enduring commitment are reflected in the National Judicial Policy as embodied in its first three regulations and rules of the policy,” the CJN said.