CJN Onnoghen Will Revive Judiciary – Saraki

President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, says the newly sworn in Chief Justice of Nigeria Mr Walter Onnoghen has enough time on his hands to revive the judiciary.

Speaking to journalists after the swearing in ceremony, Saraki stated that the Senate had drilled the CJN when he appeared before the House for confirmation.

According to him, the Senate took him up on important issues such as the independence of the judiciary.

He then expressed optimism that Justice Onnoghen has all it takes to turn the judiciary around within four years.

“We want to see an independent Judiciary, we want to see a judiciary that would also co-operate with other arms of government, doing a lot of reforms.

“I am confident that with time on his side and with commitment to some of the issues he has talked about, he would deliver.

“A lot is expected of him, Usually, CJNs have a very short period of time, but he would have no excuse not to deliver on reforming the judiciary – we hope he does that and we wish him all the best.”

Other dignitaries that witnessed the swearing in ceremony at the Presidential Villa include: former CJNs members of the Federal Executive Council, Justices of the Supreme Court, his family members, among others.


Source: Channels TV

How I fought corruption in Lagos Judiciary – Osinbajo

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has given insight into how he successfully fought endemic corruption when he served as the Attorney general and Commissioner for Justice in Lagos State.

Mr. Osinbajo served as Lagos AG in 1999 under the administration of Bola Tinubu on the platform of the defunct Alliance for Democracy, AD.

Speaking at the opening of a two-day national dialogue on corruption organised by his office in conjunction with the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, PACAC, at the Banquet Hall of Aso Rock Presidential Villa on Thursday, Mr. Osinbajo said he knew there was problem in the Lagos state judiciary even before he assumed office.

He said when he assumed office, the first thing he did was to conduct a survey of about 200 lawyers “who were regular practitioners at the court” and asked them certain questions.

The acting president said one of the most fundamental questions in the questionnaire bordered on the “integrity of the judiciary”.

“89 per cent of the respondents said that the judiciary in Lagos state was notoriously corrupt,” he said.

He also said the corruption went beyond judges to include court clerks and lawyers. He also said the survey identified the causes of the corruption to include appointments based on favours and connection to the detriment of merit.

He also said no serious background checks were carried out on prospective appointees. He said the take home pay of magistrates and judges was also found to be inadequate.

“We therefore, put in place a system of tests and interviews that each prospective appointee must answer satisfactorily,” he said.

He also said he subsequently put in place a team of seven senior judges and reviewed the monthly salary of judges which was about N67,000 and compared it to their average expenditure and then came to the conclusion that the take home pay of judges was grossly inadequate.

Mr. Osinbajo also said most good judges had no home of their own even after retirement and decided to not only increase the pay but provided each judge with a House.

“Every judge is given a house to live in and it belongs to him even after retirement. We also increased remuneration considerably,” he said.

The acting VP said after doing that he insisted that any judge accused of infraction is investigated and punished accordingly. He said within one year of the reforms, 22 magistrates were sacked while three judges were recommended for disciplinary measures to the National Judicial Council.

“When we conducted the same survey again in 2006, the outcome showed that there was zero per cent corruption among judges in Lagos state,” he said.

Mr. Osinbajo said people naturally have to see the consequences of bad behaviour before they toe the line.

The acting president also used the occasion to ask for additional cooperation from the international community on the recovery of stolen assets hidden in various countries.

He said the process of recovering stolen assets is very cumbersome and may even take several years. He then called on the international community to work with the Nigerian government to ensure that the assets are returned to the country speedily.


Source: Premium Times

Nigeria’s Judiciary ‘witnessing very challenging times’ – CJN Onnoghen

The Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, on Monday reiterated the commitment of the National judicial Council towards restoring the confidence of Nigerians in the judiciary.

Speaking at an event to mark the swearing in of two new Supreme Court justices, Paul Galinje and Sidi Bage, Mr. Onnoghen said the independence of the judiciary is fundamental to ensure the rule of law.

“My lords, ladies and gentlemen, our democracy is evolving and we must all work towards ensuring that the rule of law is deeply entrenched in our nation. To do otherwise is an invitation to chaos and anarchy.

“We must constantly be reminded of the importance of preserving and protecting the Judiciary which by its Constitutional mandate is the foundation of the rule of law in any society.

“Any threat to that foundation, including threat to its independence, portends danger for such society as the citizens will ultimately bear the brunt.

“Let me assure you all that, the National Judicial Council is poised more than ever before to restore confidence in the Judiciary as well as defend its independence and integrity. We will continue to review our guidelines and procedural rules as the need arises in the times we live,” said Mr. Onnoghen.

He called on the new judges to live above board, in a bid to prevent attacks that may threaten the independence of the judiciary.

“You are coming to the Supreme Court at a time when the third arm of government, the Judiciary is witnessing very challenging times. This should not make you despair, but rather spur you on to a greater commitment to defend the integrity and independence of the Judiciary.

“Failure to defend this institution would mean failing the citizens of this nation who have placed their hope in the judiciary for the fair and equitable dispensation of justice. I therefore urge you to always remain above board in the discharge of your duties in your new role.

Citing a previous remarks about the apex court by a former Attorney General of the Federation, Kanu Agabi, Mr. Onnoghen said the new justices, as well as their counterparts in the highest court, have been called to abide by the principles of absolute integrity, fairness and justice.

In a similar development, Mr. Onnoghen charged members of the Nigerian media to regulate their reportage in a way as to ensure improved confidence in the judiciary.

Speaking at a workshop organised by the National Judicial Institute in Abuja, Mr. Onnoghen said the media had a crucial role in restoring the confidence of the judiciary and sustaining Nigeria’s democracy.

“I am sure you will agree with me that the relationship between the fourth estate of the realm and our nation’s judiciary has been frosty. This is because members of the press are often after a “scoop”. Although a necessary hazard, the friction intermittently caused by this strain has at times resulted in the wider society having a wrong perception of the Nigerian judiciary.

“However I must emphasise the importance of preserving and protecting the judiciary as an institution designed to outlive individuals. The judiciary is the foundation of the rule of law in any society. If that foundation is threatened in any way; including threat to its independence, there cannot be a viable democracy. Therefore the press must partner with the judiciary in the performance of this very crucial role. Hence the need for the press to better regulate its reportage of Court proceedings matters that impact upon public confidence in the judiciary becomes crucial. I therefore urge you all to cross-check your facts for accurate and balanced reporting of its activities,” said Mr. Onnoghen.

NBA President vows to deal with “bad eggs” in Nigeria’s judiciary.

The President of the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, Abubakar Mahmud, said on Thursday that the association was working towards restoring the integrity of the judiciary and legal profession.


Mr. Mahmud made this known on the sidelines of the first National Executive Committee Meeting of the Bar, held in Minna.


“We acknowledge that there are problems affecting the Nigerian society and it’s institutions, including the institution of the judiciary.


“But I want to assure you that we are on top of the situation as we are working to rescue and better the integrity of the legal profession and judiciary,” he said


He stressed that allegations of corruption against some members of the Bar and the Bench should not undermine the significant contribution of the judiciary to nation building?.


“The current situation should not underrate the contribution that the legal profession and judiciary are making.


“A few bad eggs in the system should not lead to a total condemnation of the institution of the judiciary”, he added.


On Federal Government’s prosecution of members of the Bar accused of corruption, Mr. Mahmud said the NBA would follow up with its own disciplinary processes if the allegations were established at the end of the day?.


According to him, the legal profession and the judiciary still enjoy enormous goodwill and respect of Nigerians despite? the recent development.


He stated that the NBA was willing to cooperate with the Federal Government in fishing out corrupt elements, adding that the war on corruption should be done in accordance with due process.

Judiciary must fight corruption – Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday said it was fundamental for the judiciary to fight corruption in order to protect its independence.

Osinbajo said this at the 2016 Fellows Lecture and Conferment of Honourary Fellowship on him and three others by the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in Abuja.

According to him, the most potent threat against judicial independence is corruption.

Osinbajo wondered how a compromised judge could be fair and just if a litigant could buy justice.

Osinbajo said: “But (and this is fundamental), it is to protect judicial independence that we must fight corruption.”

Osinbajo noted that judicial independence was spoken of sometimes as though it was a favour being done to the judiciary, saying: “No, it is not. It is not a favour or a privilege to them.

“It is the essence of our system of justice. A judge must be independent for at least one reason: so that he or she can be fair and just, without fear or favour.

“This is why the executive must neither interfere in judicial process nor attempt to compromise judicial independence in any way.”

The Vice President said those in the legal profession owed themselves a duty to preserve the administration of justice system.

Osinbajo said: “Not only because it is the last hope of the common man but because this is our means of livelihood.

“Our profession and the credibility of the administration of justice system depend entirely on public confidence.

“Once that is eroded because of the delinquency of a few, we, the majority must fight hard against it.”

The Vice President remarked that Nigeria’s formal legal tradition is over 100 years old, adding that the tradition had three established components: the Bar, Bench and Academia.

He said each branch had distinguished itself through the years and had attained world class status.

Osinbajo stressed: “In all the serious researches on the best known administration of justice systems, it is evident that at various points in their histories, the institutions were challenged by falling standards, corruption, and abuse of office.

“When this occurred, the profession itself had often made the first and farthest drastic moves to self-correct.”

He, however, observed that one of the great difficulties of the legal profession in Nigeria was the shyness and reluctance of the practitioners to call themselves to order.

Osinbajo said: “Nobody wants to be held responsible for possibly ending the career of another.

“So, we watch the decay and gradual collapse of an excellent tradition built on the self-restraint, sacrifices and integrity of many in the past 100years.”

Osinbajo warned that such posture should stop to save the profession and the nation.

He commended the NIALS for its commitment to the highest academic traditions and for the awards.

He said: “As fellows, we pledge our commitment to the Institute’s mission of being the nucleus and hub of legal research and advanced studies in law in Nigeria.”

A delegation of Niger Delta Peoples Congress, led by the Amanyanabo of Twon Brass, King Alfred Diete-Spiff, later visited Osinbajo to address the lingering security and development issues in the region.

Chief Mike Loigho, a delegate, told newsmen the visit was to reaffirm the commitment of the congress towards ensuring security in the region and support the initiatives of the Buhari administration in that direction.

He said, however, that there was the need to carry all the Niger Delta stakeholders in the peace initiatives of the government.

Loigho said: “We don’t have any political affiliation to any group but we have come genuinely concerned to solve this problem once and for all.’’

According to him, the group has seen in Buhari a President that is very honest with governance and issues that affect Nigeria who wants a roadmap for the resolution of the conflicts in the region.

Our Judiciary And The Dead Ethic – By Opeyemi Oguntoye

The judge that sentenced James Ibori, very surprised, said “It was one of the biggest money laundering cases he has ever seen and the £50million the former governor had admitted to stealing was probably a “ludicrously low “fraction of the total amount “.

The figure, the judge said, could be in excess of £200million; it’s difficult to tell” after he was sent to jail for 13years for money laundering and embezzlement. The question then arises, why United Kingdom? Because we had him here for 8years as a governor and during those times, he was pilfering Delta people money. After the conclusion of his tenure, he was charged to court in Asaba, Delta state with various allegations and evidences but Justice Awokulehin discharged him from all the 170 count charges brought against him.


That was how Ibori was made clean and baptised with salvation water because of judiciary we have which allows the rich to buy justice at the expense of the poor. But the good Lord that does not sleep made sure nemesis caught up with James Ibori in UK when he was trying to use the same money dubiously acquired from the poor people of his state to buy a bombardier challenger jet aeroplane costing over $20million and several vehicles when the effective law in united kingdom caught up with him The rest is history.


Though the sentence brought shame to the same system but didn’t see it on time because some of them were clouded with heavy currencies which most of those politicians were using to induce them into passing favourable judgement for them.


Precisely July, 1991, the then President W.H George Bush nominated clearance Thomas for the slot of the Supreme Court judge after receiving the letter of retirement of Thurgood Marshall. Few months before his confirmation by the senate, Professor Anita Faye Hill who is a black woman and former employee of Judge Clearance Thomas came out to testify against Judge Thomas for sexually harassing her when she was working for him at the then (EEOC), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, what got me was the attention, transparency and open hearing done by the senate judiciary committee and Anita Hill’s reasons for challenging the confirmation of judge Thomas.


She said “I’m testifying as to the character and fitness of Thomas to serve on the high court”. Throughout the confirmation process and open hearing on the feud between the two, one thing was the basis for allowing the hearing to take place, integrity of the judge. The then chairman of the committee, Senator Joe bidden made sure public opinion count, with fairness and preserving the dignity of the nation.


But it’s a pity that those words are lost in our judicial system today and it goes from the top to the bottom. Almost all Nigerians find it hard to do the right thing because they have seen the effect and result of doing things right in Nigeria. Professor Anita Hill’s testimony didn’t only reveal some hidden truth but also set a record in the history of America as it contributed to the highest number of women elected to the country congress in 1992. But the case is different in my land, doing things right is a crime and if you try to blow a wrong whistle, you will be lynched.


The case of Dogara and Jibrin is still in the air today, while the man that has the intention to clean the system suffers, the Senate and House committee looked as the accuser groan for investigation and justice.


A renowned senior advocate of Nigeria, Niyi Akintola said “some Nigerians will support President Buhari if he uses any tough tactic that work to fight corruption” he echoed what we’ve all agreed on; corruption has eaten deep into the fabric of the country. It was as if Akintola read my mind when he said that to the president but he didn’t add now to it.


Whatever needs to be done on the judiciary, if he is not conscious of the time now, he may not be able to deal with the cankerworm of corruption in our bone marrow.


Steve Murphy and Javier Pena, the two Drug Enforcement Association (DEA) agents went far to fight dirty with Pablo Escobar, the then drug Lord of Colombia and the head NRACOS. Initially they thought it was a small catch but when they saw the extent at which Pablo was fighting the battle, they didn’t hesitate to fight back and won the war against the most dreadful bandits in Colombia. The president of Colombia back then, Don Cesar Gaviaria Augustus Trujillo didn’t only supported the DEA but also looked on when the two powerful drug Lord was fighting each other as it makes it set a channel for them to nail Pablo. At the end, December 2, 1993, they killed Pablo; they didn’t kill him because they fight neither like a military nor like a police but won the battle because they employed politics. If Buhari really want to win most of the battle in the country, most especially the one in our judiciary, Politics is needed. One of my lecturers once said, ‘if you want to win the battle of this world, play politics, in fact not only at work but within your family, church, mosque, government.’’


How then can our president fix the messy judiciary without fixing the Nigeria police, the corrupt paramilitary systems, and those ones that announced on national Television that the driver licence is N6, 500 and yet, people get it above N10, 000? How do you fix the judiciary when the prison officers who are meant to bring the accused to the court are very corrupt? When policemen are still slaves to most of the politicians, cleaning shoes and carrying bags for wives and girlfriends?


Mr President, don’t let the system collapse totally, save us from the public shame that the judiciary brought us. Nowadays, it is hard to find justices and truths because it has been long sent to the dungeons.


In January 2006, the then governor of Oyo state, Rasheed Ladoja was fraudulently impeached by the most crooked ways of politicking I’ve ever seen in life. A situation where the then state chairman of National Road Transport Workers (NURTW) chased out honourables in the House of Assembly and supervised the impeachment process of Ladoja. It took ten months before he got justice.


How messier, dirty and bad can it be with our judiciary that had enough on their hands, the High, Appeal and even Supreme court judges are been accused daily in this country and we don’t even see it as been shameful again because it has become a normalcy like corruption in the society had turned out to be. We have heard of lawyers, senior advocates who are good at bribing those judges and we see them walking free, we have seen the trial of an accused SAN that went to court with numerous SANs to showcase class in court. We have seen the clampdown of some judge’s and millions found in their possessions. Where is our ethnic, our culture? It wasn’t bad like this when we were still using all forms of gods to bring down evil people. If truly we want to have a society tomorrow, let us fix our judiciary.

Blame FG, govs for corruption in judiciary – CJN

Twenty-four hours after two Supreme Court Justices facing corruption allegation, Inyang Okoro and Sylvester Ngwuta, stepped down from adjudicating over cases pending conclusion of investigation, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mahmud Mohammed, has blamed the executive arm of government for corruption on the Bench.

Okoro and Ngwuta, alongside five other judges, were arrested in sting operations on October 7 and 8 by the Department of State Services (DSS) on allegations of bribery and corruption. While the duo of Okoro and Ngwuta voluntarily recused themselves from judicial functions since their homes were raided, others were still at their duty posts adjudicating on cases before them.

However, Justice Mahmoud exonerated the judiciary and its highest organ, the National Judicial Council (NJC), from any guilt as he said the third arm of government should not be blamed for the endemic corrupt practices on the Bench.

Instead, he said blames should be put on the executive, as “the failure on the part of the executive arm of government to act upon recommendations by the NJC cannot be blamed upon the NJC.”

CJN said this in a letter dated October 26, addressed to a group, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) that asked NJC to take over the alleged corruption case against the embattled judges from the DSS.

The letter, with reference No. CJN/Gen/MISC/ A37/Vol.XXI/8 and signed by CJN’s Senior Special Assistant, H. S. Sa’eed, was in response to SERAP’s request to Justice Mohammed, asking him to “take over from the DSS the cases of all the seven judges released by the DSS and refer the cases of those judges to anti-corruption agencies for conclusion of investigation and prompt prosecution.”

CJN said: “While restating the willingness of the NJC to act upon any petition as well as commitment of the Nigerian judiciary to the fight against corruption, his Lordship opines that any significant involvement in the fight against corruption will be upon a similar commitment of the prosecutorial agencies to actively prosecute their cases expeditiously when information about same is received.

“It is necessary to restate that the NJC is a creation of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended) being established under Section 153 with its mandate clearly set out in Para 21, Part One of the Third Schedule to the Constitution.

“This provision clearly stipulates at Para 21(b) and (d) that the Council may only ‘recommend’ to the President and the Governors, the removal from office of judicial officers and to exercise disciplinary control over such judicial officers, which in effect is the extent of its power to discipline. Hence, the Council cannot, suo moto dismiss any judicial officer.

“The NJC can also neither ‘hand over corrupt judges to law enforcement agencies for prosecution nor recover proceeds of corruption, as you have suggested, it can merely recommend to act upon its findings as it has always done.

“However, in exercise of its constitutional mandate, the NJC has enacted the Judicial Discipline Regulations, 2014 in order to ensure that petitions are received, investigated and addressed as appropriate. As SERAP’s own Report attests, 64 judicial officers have been disciplined within five years even preceding the institution of the new guidelines. Any failure on the part of the executive arm of government to act upon such recommendations cannot, therefore, be blamed upon the NJC.

“To be sure, every citizen of Nigeria inclusive of judicial officers, are entitled to the protection of the law and a key provision of the Constitution is the presumption of innocence, as enshrined in Section 36(5) of the Constitution (as amended).

”I must also remind us that the seven judges, like all other persons, are entitled to a fair hearing as stipulated in Section 36 of the Constitution. As such, it would be presumptive and, indeed, pre-emptive to sanction the said judges without exhausting the proper procedure for their removal.”

Lai Mohammed says arrest of judges meant to fight corruption, not Judiciary.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has stated that there was nothing unusual about stepping on sensitive toes in the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration’s current fight against corruption.

He stated this on Wednesday while interacting with State House correspondents at the end of a meeting of the Federal Executive Council presided over by President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Mohammed spoke in reaction to the outrage that has greeted the recent arrests of judges and raids on their homes by operatives of the Department of State Services, DSS.

He insisted that the arrests of the judges were carried out within the ambit of the law since they do not have immunity against investigation and prosecution.

The minister, who called on Nigerians to separate emotions from facts, maintained that the fight against corruption should not be mistaken for a fight against the judiciary.

He argued that the fact that about 11 of the ministers in Buhari’s cabinet are lawyers, about five of which are Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SAN, showed that Buhari has a lot of respect for the judiciary.

Mohammed added that the fact that the President took the cases of his three failed attempts to become the President before the judiciary is a pointer to his respect for that arm of government.

His words, “Do not confuse the fight against corruption as a fight against judiciary. What the government is concerned and passionate about is to fight corruption.

“In the process of fighting corruption, it is not unusual that you step on some very sensitive toes but the question to ask and I think these has been adequately answered by the Attorney-General is that let’s remove emotion from facts.

“One, do judges have immunity? The answer is no. Can judges be arrested? The answer is yes. Have judges that are serving be arrested in Nigeria? The answer is yes. Justice Okoli had been arrested and tried.

“Now, the next question to ask is what is the proper procedure for arresting anybody including judges. There must be properly executing search warrant. Was such presented? The answer again is yes.

“People have tried to muddle the facts about when do you search the person’s house. The truth of the matter is that under the new criminal justice law, you can search anybody, anywhere, anytime.

“Again they have tried to muddle issues by trying to say that the NJC is the only authority that can attend to complaints and discipline. The answer once again is no.

“When a judge is accused of professional misconduct is quite different from what is happening now. If you suspect anybody including Governors who have immunity, they are still subject to investigations. So I want to make it clear, this government has the highest respect for judiciary and two we are not in any way trying to ridicule the judiciary.

“We are not painting the whole of the judges with the same brush but we also have a duty to fight corruption at whatever level and in doing so, we will do so within the ambit of the law.

“Crackdown” On Judiciary- Separating The Law From Sentiments – Inibehe Effiong

The State Security Service (SSS) embarked on an unprecedented “crackdown” on allegedly corrupt judicial officers across the country over the weekend. Among the judicial officers whose houses were searched and thereafter arrested and detained are two Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria; Justices Sylvester Ngwuta and Inyang Okoro.

As expected, the action has polarised lawyers, commentators, the media, civil society and the public. Differing views have been expressed on the constitutionality or otherwise of the steps and procedures adopted by the SSS. Sadly, the public has been deprived of opinions that are rooted in law owing largely to the belligerent and sentimental posturing and aggressive grandstanding that has impaired commentaries on the issues in controversy.

My task in this essay is simply to offer a legal opinion on the following four issues: First, are judicial officers in Nigeria immune from the criminal justice system?; Second, is it mandatory for security agencies to seek the consent/intervention of the National Judicial Council (NJC) before investigating, arresting, detaining or prosecuting a judicial officer over alleged crimes?; Three, did the SSS act within its statutory powers and acceptable legal procedures? Four, is evidence that is obtained illegally admissible in law?

The above questions or issues are in my considered view the crux-es of the matter.

Before I proceed further, may I respectfully issue a caution: This op-ed is one of the longest that I have written in recent times. It is not for the lazy mind or for those who are easily irriated by long essays and exposition. The nature of the issues under consideration necessarily made it a detailed essay. I solicit the indulgence of readers.

Resolution of the issues:

First, are judicial officers in Nigeria immune from the criminal justice system?

The only constitutional provision relating to immunity from civil and criminal proceedings and prosseses for certain public office holders in Nigeria is Section 308 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) (hereinafter referred to as the Constitution). Based on that provision, only the President, the Vice President, Governors and Deputy Governors are shielded from civil and criminal proceedings and prosseses in limited circumstances.

It is an elementary rule of interpretation that the express mention of one person or thing is the exclusion of another. The maxim is expressio unius personae vel, est exclusio alterius. In the case of Ehuwa v. O.S.I.E.C. (2006) 10 NWLR (Pt.1012) 544, the Supreme Court stated the position thus:

“It is now firmly established that in the construction of a Statutory provision, where a statute mentions specific things or persons, the intention is that those not mentioned are not intended to be included…” Per OGBUAGU, JSC.

The implication is that every person apart from the four public officers expressly mentioned in Section 308 of the Constitution are subject to investigation, arrest, detention and prosecution. Judicial Officers from the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) to High Court Judges do not enjoy any special protection from criminal proceedings and prosseses. Immunity cannot be inferred, it must be specifically granted.

Those suggesting that judicial officers in Nigeria are entitled to special protection or immunity should be kind enough to cite the enabling constitutional or statutory provision that supports their position. The truth is that there is none.

Second, is it mandatory for security agencies to seek the consent/intervention of the NJC before investigating, arresting, detaining or prosecuting a judicial officer over alleged crimes?

The NJC is one of the institutions established by Section 153 of the Constitution. The power of the Council is provided for in Paragraph 21 of the Third Schedule to the Constitution. The NJC is empowered inter alia, to recommend the removal from office of judicial officers and exercise disciplinary control over them. By virtue of Section 158 (1) of the Constitution, the NJC is guaranteed constitutional independence and is not subject to the control of any other authority or person when exercising its disciplinary control.

There is no dispute on the disciplinary control of the NJC over judicial officers. What is disputed by some legal commentators is the extent of the disciplinary control. Is it correct to aver that no criminal proceedings or action can be initiated or taken against a judicial officer except on the invitation/directive of the NJC?

At the risk of repetition, where a judicial officer is alleged to have committed a crime, is it mandatory for law enforcement agencies to go through the disciplinary instrumentality of the NJC before taking actions against the erring judicial officer?

There is nothing in the provisions of Paragraph 21 of the Third Schedule to the Constitution that precludes law enforcement agencies from investigating, arresting, detaining or prosecuting a judicial officer in Nigeria for alleged corrupt practices or for other sundry offences. It is my view that a contrary interpretation will have the inescapable effect of conferring an extra-constitutional immunity on judicial officers.

In rule seven (7) of the famous twelve (12) point rule of constitutional interpretation propounded by OBASEKI, JSC in the celebrated case of Attorney-General of Bendel State vs Attorney-General of the Federation (1981) 10 SC. 1; (1981) 1 FNLR 179, the Supreme Court declared thus:

“A constitutional provision should not be construed in such a way as to defeat its evident purpose.”

The purpose of Section 308 of the Constitution as evidently enshrined therein is to protect ONLY the President, Vice President, Governors and Deputy Governors from arrest, detention and prosecution. I submit that any construction on the disciplinary power of the NJC that tends to shield judicial officers from arrest, detention and prosecution will automatically defeat the purpose of Section 308 of the Constitution.

It is my humble view that where the wrongful act of a judicial officer is merely a misconduct and nothing more, the NJC is vested with the power to recommend such offending judicial officer for removal from office and exercise disciplinary control over him. The NJC’s independence from control guaranteed and envisaged by Section 158 of the Constitution does not, and cannot be construed to mean totality or absoluteness of control over judicial officers where the misconduct complained of also constitute a crime.

Before concluding on this point, there is a widely propagated misconception that needs to be corrected.

It has been argued by some persons that the procedure on how erring judges should be dealt with requires that even when a judge is found or alleged to have committed a crime, a petition must first be written to the NJC and that the petitioner and the law enforcement agencies like the police, the EFCC, the SSS and others must patiently wait for the determination of the petition by the NJC before activating the criminal process. With respect, that cannot be the correct position.

Ostensibly, this misconception stems from a misunderstanding of the relationship between the constitutional procedure for removal of judicial officers and the liability of judges for criminal offences committed by them.

The procedure for removal of judicial officers in Nigeria is as contained in Section 292 of the Constitution. In brevity, the provision is to the effect that the NJC may recommend to the President or Governor, as the case may be, the removal from office of erring judicial officers for inability to perform the functions of their office due to infirmity (whether of the body or mind) or misconduct or contravention of the Code of Conduct. Note that the NJC only recommends, it does not and cannot remove any judicial officer solely on its own.

There is nothing in Section 292 of the Constitution that makes the removal of an erring judicial officer a condition precedent to his investigation, arrest, detention and prosecution by law enforcement agencies.

No law enforcement agency can usurp the disciplinary powers of the NJC by recommending a judge for removal or suspending a judge or exercising other form of disciplinary control over a judicial officer. Likewise the NJC cannot and should not usurp the constitutional cum statutory functions of the law enforcement agencies to investigate crimes, arrest, detain or prosecute any person, including judicial officers, for alleged crimes. Both causes of action can either run concurrently or separately depending on the circumstances of each case. Where for example a judicial officer is accused of corruption which is both an act of professional misconduct and a crime, the aggrieved party and or law enforcement agency may elect to petition the NJC for the removal of the judicial officer from office or proceed directly to subject the erring judicial officer to the criminal justice system or pursue both causes of action at the same time.

The NJC is not a court of law under Section 6 of the Constitution and has no supervisory jurisdiction over law enforcement agencies.

Third, did the SSS act within its statutory power and acceptable procedure?

The SSS is a creation of the National Security Agencies Act of 1986. The power of the SSS as stipulated in Section 3 of the Act is as follows:

(3) The State Security Service shall be charged with responsibility for-

(a) the prevention and detection within Nigeria of any crime against the internal security of Nigeria;

(b) the protection and preservation of all non-military classified matters concerning the internal security of Nigeria; and

(c) such other responsibilities affecting internal security within Nigeria as the National Assembly or the President, as the case may be, may deem necessary.

Going by the provisions of paragraphs (a) and (b) supra, it is apparent that the SSS stricto sensu ( in the strict sense) has no power to arrest judicial officers for alleged economic and financial crimes. However, a dispassionate attention should be paid to the wordings and purport of paragraph (c) above. Clearly, that provision (paragraph C) gives the President the power to enlarge the scope of responsibilities of the SSS relating to the internal security within Nigeria. Section 6 of the Act goes further to empower the President to issue an Instrument, a subsidiary legislation, on the manner the SSS should exercise its powers, etc.

In exercise of the power in Sections 3 and 6 of the National Security Agencies Act 1986, former Head of State, General Abdusalam Abubakar in 1999 promulgated the State Security Service Instrument One of 1999. By virtue of that Instrument, the responsibilities of the SSS was extended to include the prevention, detection and investigation of economic crimes of national security dimension, among other things. It is important to emphasize that the National Security Agencies Act has a special constitutional flavour being one of the four federal enactments listed in Section 315 (5) of the Constitution. The consequence is that it cannot be altered like ordinary Acts of the National Assembly. It has the same alteration procedure like the Constitution as laid down in Section 9 (2) of the Constitution.

According to the SSS, the affected judicial officers were arrested based on allegations of corrupt practices and professional misconduct. The SSS in a statement said that raw cash of different denominations, in both local and foreign currencies, assets worth millions of Naira and documents affirming “unholy acts of these Judges” have been uncovered through a sting operation. The summary of cash allegedly recovered during the “raids” conducted in the homes of the Judges was given as follows: Naira – N93,558,000.00; Dollars – $530,087; Pounds – £25,970 and Euro – €5,680.

The question is, does the grave allegations levelled against the Judges and the alleged offences committed by them constitute “economic crimes of national security dimension” to bring same within the purview of the additional powers of the SSS pursuant to Instrument One of 1999?

It is advisable for us to examine the role of judicial officers in nation building. A corrupt judge is not only a threat to justice and the rule of law but to the society and the nation. Judges are by their calling empowered to make binding decisions on behalf of the rest of the society. When judgments are obtained fraudulently, the society and the nation are endangered. A corrupt judge is more dangerous than a kidnapper or an armed robber. The worst form of corruption is judicial corruption.

Though the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is the specialised and coordinating agency for the detection, prevention and prosecution of economic and financial crimes, economic crimes committed by a judicial officer is far more serious and damaging than those of other categories of persons and there is some wisdom is categorizing same as “economic crimes of national security dimension” for which the SSS can act upon.

On the manner the searches and arrests were conducted, I concede that the SSS acted in a rather brash and indecorous manner. However, facts are sacred and the law should be separated from sentiments. It is reported that the SSS obtained both search and arrest warrants. What is in dispute is whether the warrants covered all the affected judicial officers and the somewhat “undemocratic” manner they were executed, particularly the time.

The relevant principal law on the issuance of a search/arrest warrant is the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 (ACJA). Part 18 of the ACJA is devoted to search warrants, Section 144 thereof allows for the issuance of a search warrant on any house. The warrant may also authorize the officer or other person to arrest the occupier of the house or place where any incriminating item or thing is found during the search. Where this is specified in the search warrant, there would be no need to obtain an arrest warrant separately. By Section 146 of the ACJA, a search warrant shall be under the hand of a Judge, Magistrate or Justice of the Peace issuing it and shall remain in force until it is executed or cancelled by the court which issued it.

One important provision under Part 18 of the ACJA that those criticizing the SSS should note is Section 148. It states unequivocally thus:

“A search warrant may be issued and executed at any time on any day, including a Sunday or Public Holiday.”

However, under Section 151 of the ACJA, a search warrant cannot be executed outside jurisdiction of the court or Justice of the Peace issuing it except with the consent of the court within whose jurisdiction the search is to be made. It is doubtful whether the SSS complied with this requirement before embarking on the search at the houses of some of the judges located outside the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja where the search warrant must have been issued.

It has been argued by some lawyers, including some Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) that the ACJA does not apply throughout the federation and that the SSS was bound to follow the provisions of the enabling procedural laws in the States where they executed the search, especially as it pertains to the time of execution of the search warrants. This argument with respect is misleading.

Under Section 111 of the repealed Criminal Procedure Act Cap. C41 LFN 2004, the time for executing a search warrant in the South was between the hours of five o’clock in the forenoon and eight o’clock at night of any day of the week, including Sundays but the Magistrate had the power to direct otherwise. The repealed Criminal Procedure (Northern States) Act Cap. C42 LFN 2004, was however silent on the time. Both Acts have now been repealed by Section 493 of the ACJA 2015 and are no longer laws in Nigeria. Section 2 of the ACJA makes the ACJA applicable to criminal trials for offences created by an Act of the National Assembly, like economic and financial crimes, and to other offences punishable in the FCT, it is the ACJA and not the various laws of the States where the “raids” were conducted that governs the procedure adopted by the SSS. Accordingly, it is misleading for anyone to suggest that the SSS was wrong to have executed the search warrant(s) at night.

It is reported that the SSS forcibly broke into the house of one of the judges. Section 149 (1) of the ACJA states thus:

“Where any building liable to be search is closed, a person residing in or being in charge of the building, thing or place, shall on demand of the police officer or other person executing the search warrant, allow him free and unhindered acess to it and afford all reasonable facilities for its search.”

By the combined effect of Sections 9, 10, 12, 13 and 149 (2) of the ACJA the person executing a search warrant and or arrest warrant is empowered to “break open any outer or inner door or window of any house or place” where unhindered acess is denied upon demand. If the SSS had requested for unhindered access into the house of the affected judge and they were denied, the breaking of the door of the judge’s house was lawful as expressly stated in the ACJA.

Four, is illegally obtained evidence admissible in law? In other words, where evidence is recovered in contravention of the procedure for search of houses and places, will the court admit same?

Every lawyer in this country that is worth his salt knows the answer to this question. The answer is YES – illegally obtained evidence is admissible. The Supreme Court held so in unmistakable terms right from 1968 in the case of Musa Sadau & Anor v. The State (1968) NMLR 208. Also in Kuruma V. R. (1955)1 All ER 236 at 239-240, the Privy Council stated, inter alia, thus:

“The test to be applied in considering whether evidence is admissible is whether it is relevant to the matters in issue. If it is admissible…..the court is not concerned with how the evidence was obtained”.

It is an elementary rule of evidence that what determines admissibility is relevance and not how the evidence was procured. See Section 1 of the Evidence Act 2011 and the cases of Torti v. Ukpabi (1984) 1 SCNLR 214 AT 236 – 237 and 239 24O and Lasun v. Awoyemi (2009) 16 NWLR (Pt.1168) 513 at 553.

Accordingly the evidence allegedly recovered from the houses of the judges are admissible in law whether search warrants were obtained or not or properly executed or not. The court will still go ahead to admit the evidence irrespective of protestations against its illegality. This may not sound comforting, but that is the law.

By way of concluding remarks, I will like to make some points clear. The Judiciary is a sacred institution that should not be desecrated by any person. However, there is no sacredness in corruption. Judges must at all times be treated with decency and respect befitting of their office but corrupt judges should be identified and treated like other criminals in the society. Nigeria is blessed with some of the best judicial brains that can be found anywhere in the world, but the nefarious activities of the bad eggs on the Bench should never be tolerated under any guise.

Judges are not above the law.

Like other public servants, judges in Nigeria are paid in Naira, not in Dollars, Pounds, Euro or Cedis. Judges are not Bureau De Change operators and are not permitted to engage in business adventures. Therefore, the Nigerain people with whose taxes and resources the Judiciary is funded deserves to know how their Lordships came about the mind-blowing hard currencies found in their homes? The public deserves to know how their Lordships came about the assets allegedly traced to them. Judges who are living above their means should be able to answer some questions from the law enforcement agencies.

Their Lordships are presumed innocent until proved guilty and they should be given fair trial and fair hearing.

Instead of threatening the President, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) should tell us what they have done about the recent brutal murder of their member in Rivers State, Mr. Ken Atsuwete? Where was the NBA when a High Court Judge was assaulted in open court in Ekiti State by political thugs led by a governor? Why did the NBA not declare a state of emergency on the judiciary when Justice Ayo Isa Salami was humiliated and disgraced out of the Bench by the administration of Goodluck Jonathan despite the NJC’s recommendation that he should be reinstated? What has the NBA done to Mr. Ricky Tarfa, SAN for allegedly bribing judges? Whose interest is the NBA fighting for?

Records have shown that judges in other jurisdictions, including the United States have been arrested, prosecuted and jailed for corruption and other criminal conducts. Ghana recently purged its judiciary. If this is the time to uproot the pervasive cancer of corruption in the Nigerian Judiciary it is a welcome development and should be supported. Without checks and balances, the doctrine of separation of powers is useless and unworkable.

We cannot have different standards for the rule of law; one for the influential and another for the poor or one for the judges and another for the rest rest us.

Thank you.

Inibehe Effiong is a Legal Practitioner and Convener of the Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (COHRD) and can be reached at: inibehe.effiong@gmail.com

The worst form of corruption is judicial corruption – Inibehe Effiong

It is advisable for us to examine the role of judicial officers in nation building. A corrupt judge is not only a threat to justice and the rule of law but to the society and the nation. Judges are by their calling empowered to make binding decisions on behalf of the rest of the society.


When judgments are obtained fraudulently, the society and the nation are endangered. A corrupt judge is more dangerous than a kidnapper or an armed robber. The worst form of corruption is judicial corruption.


Though the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is the specialised and coordinating agency for the detection, prevention and prosecution of economic and financial crimes, economic crimes committed by a judicial officer is far more serious and damaging than those of other categories of persons and there is some wisdom is categorizing same as “economic crimes of national security dimension” for which the SSS can act upon.


Inibehe Effiong

DSS did not infringe on the independence and sanctity of the judiciary.

The argument by some that the sting operations carried by the DSS on homes of senior Judges of the High Court and the Supreme Court last Friday which led to recovery of vast sums of money in various current denominations is an infraction on the independence and sanctity of the judicial branch of government is hogwash.


There is no infringement on the independence and sanctity of the judiciary in any manner whatsoever . Judges do not have immunity to do what they like. When a judge collects bribe to pervert the course of Justice is that not in itself an infraction of the independence of the judiciary and a threat to the sanctity of the judiciary? When a judge commits a crime  is both a professional misconduct and a crime.


In such a circumstances it is not more the business of the National Judicial Council to deal with it but also a matter for security agencies to handle. The DSS does not need more explanation more than what it had done. NJC has been protecting and covering senior judges!


We have evidence and this why we resort to such measures . Justice Tsamiya collected two hundred million as bribe  but NJC inexplicably only recommended his retirement. But another Judge in Kano who collected a bribe of N190 million was ordered to be arrested by the Police by NJC.


We heard mind-bogging stories in which judges collect humongous sums of money especially in political and election related cases to pervert the cause of Justice.  It is perverse logic and reasoning for any body to contend that independence of the judicial branch of government means that  the executive branch of government should close it eyes to the infractions of the law and Constitution by Judges.


Even in the United States of America, the supposed bastion and sanctuary of constitutional and liberal democracy the FBI ( equivalent of DSS) sometimes carry sting operations to arrest roguish judges! On 5th October 2015 the CBS/Ap reported the arrest of a federal Judge, Judge T. Camp by the FBI in a sting operation for  gun running and illegal drugs involvement with an Atlanta stripper.

Ambode Seeks Stronger Tie With Judiciary

The Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, has called for the continuation of the cordial relationship and peace, which he said exists between the judiciary and the executive arm of government in Lagos State.

The governor, who described the judiciary as the last hope of the citizens, also admonished the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Oluwafunmilayo Atilade, and the rest of the judges to continue to dispense justice with the fear of God.

Ambode reiterated the commitment of his administration to the enthronement of the rule of law in Lagos State, which he said was the reason the state had continued to invest in judicial sector reforms.

The governor said this on Monday at the church service to usher in the 2016/2017 legal year.

Atilade led serving and retired judges, magistrates, judicial staff members, Senior Advocates of Nigeria and other lawyers to the church service, which held at the Cathedral Church, Marina, Lagos.

Also present at the service was the immediate past Lagos CJ, Justice Ayotunde Phillips (retd.).

Ambode, in his speech, said the service was significant as it was a way of seeking God’s protection and guidance for the new legal year.

He acknowledged the continuous support he said he had been receiving from the Chief Judge in the last 16 months that his administration came on board and harped on the need for continuous innovation in the judiciary in order to preserve the status of Lagos State as the centre of excellence.

Ambode said, “The judiciary remains the only and the last hope of the citizens here in Lagos State. Our administration is det ermined to enthrone the rule of law and protect the less privileged in our society and that is why we’ve laid so much emphasis on judicial sector reforms and we believe strongly that this we can also do together.

“I just want to urge all of us in the judicial sector that we should discharge our duties with the fear of God. In this new legal year, let just innovate and reform, so that the Lagos State judiciary continues to retain its pride of place in Nigeria.”

Doctors Blame Health Sector Crises On Judiciary, Ministry, Others

Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, yesterday blamed industrial disharmony and other crises in the nation’s health sector on judiciary, health ministry, hospitals’ managements, and health workers in the country. The doctors specifically identified interpretations of health-related laws by judges in the country, alleged weaknesses of past and present governments to tackle issues headlong and deliberate attempts by non-doctors to hijack their roles in hospitals as fundamental reasons crises in the sector have worsened and lingered. The group repeatedly affirmed its leadership of the nation’s health sector, including all hospitals, and vowed never to concede it to any health worker other than doctors. The NMA urged Nigerians to prevail on the federal and other tiers of government to ensure all employees work according to their rules of engagement and discipline. The group however warned that the sector could witness “disaster and collapse” if the alleged trends were not addressed. A statement signed by president and General-Secretary of the group, Kayode Obembe and Adewunmi Alayaki respectively, called on the National Assembly to urgently hold a joint session to probe alleged anomalies in the sector. It also seeks the implementation of report of the Yayale Ahmed-led Presidential Committee on Harmony in the sector.

The association lamented that non-medical practitioners and doctors, who once worked in health facilities to save patients, now live like rats in hospitals. Condemning judicial pronouncement which favoured non-doctors, the association said: “The Nigerian Medical Association is highly appalled by the state of affairs in the healthcare delivery system which has been reinforced by the recent ruling of National Industrial Court. An ill-informed ruling as a result of a poor understanding of the meaning of medicine, its ramifications and appendages, the role and rights of practitioners of medicine and their relationship with allied healthcare professionals for the purpose of maintaining members of the public in a state of health.” Consequent upon hatred caused by crises in the sector, the doctors argued that “deep-rooted enmity of a lifetime and for future generations has been created among a group of people who work and live together as a team because of these interpretations that pacified only the crying baby without asking for the reason for the lamentation.” The group said it was furious over alleged attempts by non-doctors to usurp their functions through various tactics including being “aided by the acquiescence or collusion of some persons entrusted with power and authority to perform certain roles in the system, to foist a state of frozen conflict on the healthcare delivery system of Nigeria to the detriment of the public.”

It added that health workers have used a combination of “contrived” misapplication of government policy and establishment circulars and misused legislations to cause unimaginable divisions, segmentation, indiscipline and other vices in the healthcare system with attendant but avoidable injuries and deaths to unsuspecting members of the public.

Credit: NationalMirror

NBA Accuses Buhari Of Plot To Intimidate Judiciary

The Nigerian Bar Association has condemned in strong terms the recent criticism of the judiciary in the fight against corruption.

Speaking at the valedictory session organised in honour of a retiring Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Mohammed Muntaka-Coomassie, NBA President, Augustine Alegeh, said the recent attack directed at the judiciary over the ongoing anti-corruption war was unacceptable.

“The NBA condemns in its entirety the generalisation and/or categorisation of the Judiciary as being corrupt and an impediment to the zero corruption policy of the present administration,” Mr. Alegeh said.

Mr. Alegeh noted that although there were bad eggs in the system, the categorisation of the entire judiciary as corrupt was a strong misconception, and an attempt to intimidate the judiciary, which he said would not be tolerated.

Although the NBA chief did not mention President Muhammadu Buhari in his speech, it was clear the President was one of those to which the comment was directed.

Mr. Buhari is the most prominent Nigerian official to criticise the judiciary in recent times.

The President had while speaking in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on January 31, said his biggest headache in the ongoing fight against corruption in Nigeria remained the actions and inactions of the judiciary.

Credit: PremiumTimes

EFCC Seeks NBA’s Collaboration In Fight Against Corruption

Mr Ibrahim Magu, the Acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has called on members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to join hands with the Commission in the fight against corruption.

This is contained in a statement issued on Wednesday in Abuja by Mr Wilson Uwujaren ,EFCC’s Head, Media and Publicity.

It said that Magu made the call when the national executive of the NBA paid him a courtesy visit.

Magu said that some members of the association had given it a bad name as a result of their unprofessional conducts.
He said that some lawyers were aiding some individuals and corporate bodies to perpetrate economic and financial crimes.

“Society is not served when prominent members of the Bar not only take clearly tainted briefs, but even facilitate the commission of crimes by knowingly supplying the technical know-how and later helping in the dispersal of the proceeds of crime.


There are lawyers within the fold of the NBA who ought not to be among your noble ranks. Those people are not fit to be called barristers; rather, they are vandals of the temple of justice’’, the statement said.
He, however, said that to effectively fight the war against corruption, the input of lawyers was needed.

“Law enforcement, just as the judiciary, encompassing the Bar and the Bench, is a critical link in the justice delivery system of any society. I dare say that even when opinions and tactics differ, the interest of the two blocs cannot but converge on the overriding interest of the people.’’

According to the statement, he noted that no other anti-graft agency had beaten the record of the EFCC in the areas of prosecutions and convictions.

Describing ordinary Nigerians as the victims of fraud, diversion of funds and embezzlement, he urged the Bar to share in the vision of the present administration to eradicate corruption.

According to the statement, the NBA President, Mr Augustin Alegeh (SAN), stressed the need for EFCC and the NBA to synergise in the fight against corruption.

Alegeh said that the Bar’s anti-corruption Commission had developed a Know-Your-Customer (KYC) template for lawyers to address the issue of members accepting questionable briefs.




PDP Blasts Buhari Over Comments On Judiciary

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has come down hard on President Muhammadu Buhari over his comments on the nation’s judiciary.

Mr. Buhari had on Sunday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, said his ongoing fight against corruption in Nigeria could be effectively tackled with the strong support of the judiciary.

A statement by Mr. Buhari’s spokesperson, Femi Adesina, quoted the president as saying that far-reaching reforms of the judiciary remained a key priority for his administration.

“On the fight against corruption vis-à-vis the judiciary, Nigerians will be right to say that is my main headache for now,” he said.

The president, who recalled all his past attempts to get elected, said if not for God and the use of technology, he would not have emerged as president in the 2015 elections.

He also recalled how his cases before the judiciary were resolved unfavourably.

The PDP on Monday called on the judiciary, “as the last hope of the common man”, to continue to assert its independence and not allow itself to be deterred from upholding justice and the rule of law, no matter the pressure.

The acting national chairman of the party, Uche Secondus, who spoke during the inauguration of the Imo State caretaker committee, said the “judicial community and in fact, all discerning Nigerians, were shocked by the release by the presidency on Sunday wherein President Muhammadu Buhari was quoted to have described the judiciary as the “major headache” of his administration.

Credit: PremiumTimes

Wike Blasts Rivers NBA For Failing To Resist Interference In Judiciary

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, yesterday lashed out at the state chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, for failing to fight against the issues that crippled the judiciary in the state for almost one year.

Meanwhile, workers resumed early yesterday at the judiciary complex in Port Harcourt with most of  them saying  “happy new year,” apparently referring to the protracted strike that kept them at home since June last year.

The governor, yesterday in Government House, Port Harcourt, while swearing in Justice Daisy Okocha as the acting Chief Judge in the state, said he was surprised that senior lawyers who should have resisted  what he termed the evil that rose against the judiciary, kept quiet.

Wike, who also swore in Justice Christy Nwankwo as acting President of the Customary Court of Appeal, recalled failed efforts by the previous government to stop his swearing in as governor of the state on May 29.

Read More: vanguardngr



I have not been too frequent on social media lately as I have been going through a self- prescribed curative therapy, aimed at purging myself of ‘textiety’, as I was fondly glued to the internet mainly through my phones; but here I am well drowned in a deluge of messages that have flooded my handles, some of which are soliciting my opinion on some national issues; but before I settle down to that, let me digress a bit.

I had thought it is only in Nollywood that we witness watery rushes of a lazy coloration of our common sense, until last weekend when I came in contact with a certain man, whose introduction threw me into crestfallenness, followed by resounding laughter.

“I am the Personal Assistant to the Senior Special Assistant to the Special Adviser to the Deputy Councilor of this Local Government”, thus the man introduced himself.

A certain motion picture came to mind, that which portrays Idi Amin Dada with his many titles: LAST KING OF SCOTLAND.

The same obtains in our religious settings, most especially our churches. It is a common take for purported MoG or WoG to introduce themselves with all the funny prefixes and suffixes that they can readily lay their hands on: Dr. Supreme Most Senior Evangelist/Prophet/Primate/Pastor Miracle Godson, PhD, Mss, JP, Justice of the Peace, DLitt, General Overseer of Kingdom of Darkness Fighting Ministry. Crazy!

Whatever the many appellations give, I do not understand. Of what value is a man that calls himself the head of a nation or a home, if he carries that title only in the ceremonial sense, but shirks his responsibilities thereto? “The hood does not make the monk”

Well, to the main issue at hand.

There is a common saying that it is only a crazy man that expects a different result from doing the same thing over and again.

The imbecility from Abuja that is taking a heavy toll on our national pride is the main nonsense I want to talk about here.

Any sane person will know that to have been caught with dollar bills running into millions, undocumented and airlifted into another sovereign nation, is enough slap on the face of the violating individual or nation; but to repeat same a second time should be taken as massive foolishness, in this case, of devious people in Abuja who are in one way or the other linked to our national security; no wonder the insurgents are having a leeway perpetrating their evil acts. No wonder!

I do not in any way have any grouse with the government of the Republic of South Africa, as no sane government will operate like ours, where anything goes, where millions of dollars will go missing and life will continue normally, with no one asking or answering any questions. In essence, no sane government will operate like a Pablo Escobar.2

The story we are being told that some governments, especially that of the USA, are blocking us from procuring arms to fight this insurgency, cannot be tenable to a sound mind. Let me ask:

Is it a new thing that the USA blocks the sale of arms to nations that are credited with Human Rights abuses?

Is Nigeria the only nation that has been blocked from procuring arms in the world?

How have wholesome funds, legally or illegally, been ferried across borders before now?

Many questions, but I know there can never be intelligent answers from Abuja. All they do is to perpetrate more and more foolishness. The one you hear today will be a child’s play in comparison to the madness that will be acted tomorrow.

It is one thing to believe that the monies in question are meant for procuring arms, and it is another to believe that the said funds are stolen. Whatever the case may be, the Federal Government hasn’t given us a reason to believe any explanation that is being, or may be offered for such movement of funds, because under our very nose, billions of dollars developed wings, flew away, and till date, we have not been able to tell its destination.  Government Magic just as Fela will call it.

A government that thrives on lies.


My wife, a lawyer, and I had a chat immediately the news broke that the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ruled that Ngilari be sworn-in as the substantive Governor of Adamawa State. She said it was a wrest by the judiciary to free itself from the claws of the executive, but I haven’t seen the full fight yet. I can tell that the judiciary as it is , is drowned in the same corruption pool that the executive and the legislature are swimming in. Look everywhere and tell me otherwise.