An Abuja based group, Society for Rule of Law in Nigeria (SRLN) has called for stiffer sanction against judges found guilty of unethical behaviours, saying; “mere compulsory retirement cannot restore the confidence of Nigerians in the judiciary.”
Reacting to the decision of the National Judicial Council (NJC), recommending sack of three controversial top Nigerian judges, SRLN said in a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Comrade Chima Ubeku that the NJC must go beyond just recommending the judges for retirement by making them to face trial.
Justices Abubakar Talba, Thomas Naron, and Charles Archibong were reportedly recommended for compulsory retirement by the NJC at its meeting on Wednesday.
Justice Talba was the judge who sentenced a self-confessed pension thief, Yakubu Yusufu, who pleaded guilty to stealing N2 billion of about N30 billion to two years in prison each on a three-count charge with an option of fine of N250, 000 on each charge. The judge was also the one who freed Governor Rauf Aregbesola of the charge of forgery of Police Report presented to the Osun State Governorship Election Tribunal.
Justice Naron, was involved in the controversial judgment of the first Osun State Governorship Election Tribunal while Justice Archibong was the one who gave the controversial judgment removing the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) National Auditor, Chief Bode Mustapha from office as well as the dissolution the South-West Zonal Executive Committee of the Party and recognition to Engr. Adebayo Dayo faction of Ogun State Executive Committee.
Reacting, SRLN said; “If Nigerians must begin to respect the judiciary, all these cash-n-carry judges must be sent to jail.
“It shouldn’t just be mere retirement because they could have envisaged the premature retirement and corruptly acquired enough fund to last them throughout their lifetime.
“For instance, we have heard of people offering judges what they call their ‘retirement benefit’ should anything go awry in their deal. If a judge had taken say N500 million to pervert the course of justice and all the NJC does to sanction him is to retire him, won’t the judge feel happy that he was able to make what he could not have made even if he works for 50 years?
“Therefore, while we commend the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mariam Aloma Muktah for her efforts to sanitise the judiciary, we urge that judges who are found to have contravened their oath of office should be made to face trial instead of mere suspension or retirement.”