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Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Judiciary Reform: CJN Launches National Judicial Policy, Inaugurates Ethics Committee

The chief justice of Nigeria has publicly presented the policy guidelines to guide judicial officers in their duties.

This comes against the backdrop of the on-going investigation and trial of some judges and senior lawyers in the country over alleged fraud.

  The aim is to provide an oversight over judicial offices and court star, to ensure integrity and independence of the Nigerian judiciary.
The CJN added that and to serve as a legal backing for several multi-faceted strategies and guidelines to be developed by the judiciary to continue to rid the sector of acts that are not in line with the rule of law and due process.
He says even though the policy and the decision to set up the committee pre-dates the events of October 7 and 8, 2016 [arrest of judges], at ensuring discipline among judicial office
The policy, he adds, will have no effect, if it is not adequately enforced.
To ensure enforcement, the CJN also inaugurated a 10-man Ethics Standing Committee headed by former CJN, Justice Legbo Kutigi, and has as members former retired chief justices and the president of the Nigerian Bar Association.
According to the former CJN, the move will put to rest a long held belief that the judiciary lacked a far reaching discipline structure.
The policy provides guidelines on judicial discipline, code of conduct, performance, independence of the judiciary, judicial transparency and anti-corruption.
The setting up of the committee comes on a day a lawyer gave instances of corrupt practices in the judiciary, insisting that lawyers indicted by the department of State Service that arrested them onrs and quality justice delivery.
Seven judges in Nigeria were arrested and detained for corruption and breach of professional ethics. October 7 and 8 should resign.
Giving instances he said were connected to cases he had handled, Mr Abayomi said a while ago, a case that he had secured execution for was brought back to court and a judge stayed execution after he had allegedly collected money.
“I was handling a case in one of the courts of the federation and we won the case.
“Another judge handled the case and we won. We now applied for execution, judge B directed execution, the court bailiff executed according to the directive of the judge, but the judgement debtor broke the chain.
“The judgement debtor now went to court to apply for stay of execution and the judge, who could not look up on the day of hearing, read an order staying the judgment the court had executed.
“It is so bizarre and strange,” he says.

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