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NBA sets up c’ttee to probe corruption in judiciary

By Innocent Anaba
LAGOS — Following the earlier position of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, on the incidences of corruption in the justice delivery system and the fact that some lawyers and judges were involved in the perilous conduct, the association has set up a committee to identify those involved in the unwholesome practice, investigate same and refer them to the anti-corruption and law enforcement agencies for prosecution.

NBA in a communiqué at the end of its NEC meeting in Akure, Ondo State, weekend, by its President, Mr Joseph Daudu, SAN, said: “NEC adopted the NBA President’s speech delivered at the Supreme Court on the occasion of the valedictory session of the late Justice Anthony Aniagolu, retired Justice of the Supreme Court, on February 16, concerning the growing incidences of corruption in the justice delivery system and the fact that some members of the Bar and the Bench were involved in the perilous conduct and appreciating the need for an incisive and result oriented approach to the problem.

“NEC has approved and directed the President of the Association to set up a high powered committee to be referred to as the NBA Anti-Corruption Commission with specific terms and reference to (i) identify all those involved in the unwholesome and indeed criminal practice of judicial corruption, (ii) investigate same and refer the outcome to the various anti-corruption law enforcement agencies for prosecution and any other action they may deem fit to take.

“NBA/NEC also approved the setting up of similar anti-corruption committees at branch level, in all the 96 branches upon a template to be designed by the NBA secretariat and presented to branch chairmen for prompt implementation.

“NEC reviewed in extent the current state of insecurity in the country fuelled by factors such as marginalisation of Nigerians on ethnic and religious grounds, unequal and lopsided revenue  arrangement, corruption, unwieldy and unprofitable political arrangement and systems etc, in the country, leading to the agitation for urgent and indeed imperative national discourse by whatever name called; the essence of which is to have a peaceful, cohesive and united federal entity called Nigeria indivisible and indissoluble in its quest to be a world power.”

“NEC also deliberated on the clamour in some quarters for the removal of the Acting Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, predicated on the White Paper issued by the Plateau State Government following the recommendations of the Justice Niki Tobi Commission of Inquiry into the 2001 Jos crisis and resolved after examining the basic legal issues in that regard that in so far as the indictment is from a state government, that is  Plateau State, which has no control or supervision over the Nigerian Police Force, an entity on the exclusive legislative list of the Nigerian Constitution and in so far as the  Federal Executive Council has not endorsed or ratified the said Plateau State Government  White Paper, such clamour is premature and without any legal basis,” the communiqué added.

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