A group of activists in the country have declared on Wednesday that any corrupt Judge found guilty of corruption by the Court of Competent Jurisdiction should bag jail term of seven years in consonance with sections 98, 99 and 494 of the Criminal Code of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Section 172 & 209 and part 5th schedule, part 1 of section 6&8 of the amended 1999 Constitution, rejecting the recent approach of the men of the Department of State Security Service (DSSS) in arresting the few Judges of the Federal High and Supreme Court over corrupt practices by invading their Houses with unconventional weapons which was inimical to the code of Conduct of a security agents.
They also advised President Muhammdu Buhari led- Federal Government to extend its anti-corruption crusade to the State Judiciary of the Federation where the corrupt practices have been nurturing to the highest ebb, saying that the depth of the corruption in the nation’s judiciary were enormous that needed to be curtailed frontally within the ambit of the law.
The activists under the aegis of Centre for Human Rights and Social Justice (CHRSJ) were drawn from; The Christian Awareness Mission Group (CAMG), Passengers Fundamental Rights Group (PATRGIA), The Islamic Political Awareness Group (TIPAG), Centre for Social Justice and Equity of Nigeria (CESJEN),Veteran Groups for Operation Clean Crusade (VGOCC), Apata-Aiyeraye Social Political Volunteer Group (ASPVG), De-Mainstream Independent Group(DMIG) and Coalition Against Illegal Arrest & Unlawful Detention (CAIA&UD).
Others were; Centre for Constitutional Rights and Counter Corruption Crusader, Save Lagos Group(SLG) ,The Conscience Mainstream (TCM), African Masses Voices for Survival (AMVS), The Christians Youths for the Peoples’ Rights and Development (CYPRD), Islamic Movement for Muslims’ Rights (IMMR), Divine Nigerians Liberators for Peoples’ Fundamental Rights (DNLPFR) and The Christians Volunteers Groups for Good Governance in Nigeria (TCVGGGN).
Speaking through its National Coordinator, Comrade Adeniyi, Alimi Sulaiman, in a statement which was made available to newsmen, after their emergency meeting on the “State of Nation” in respect of recent arrest of some Judges for alleged perceived bribery scandal, insisted that all the corrupt judges should not be allowed to escape the long arm of the law because justice should take its due course without minding whose ox is gored.
They stated that the recent revelation by finding Millions of naira in different currencies in the residence of the arrested Judges by the men of State Security Service during their operation, had undermined the public confidence in the entire judicial system of the country, adding that the revelation had also eroded the judiciary of its integrity with the notion that judiciary was the last hope of common man on the street.
They urged President Buhari to take the cleanse of the judiciary and other sector of the country of corrupt practices with utmost seriousness in line with the section of the fundamental law of the land (the Constitution) in section 15(5) that the State shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power, noting that the corruption should be fought to a standstill by all and sundry.
According to them “The fight against the cancer of corruption in Nigeria should be dealth with frontally because the menace has affected every segment of our society which impeding the nation’s socio-economic and political development and growth. To us, with the revelation from the operation of the men of the Department of State Security Service (DSSS) that millions of naira was met in the houses of the affected Judges. Thorough, credible and unbiased investigation should be conducted into the whole saga and all the affected Judges should be prosecuted according to the law of the Land. But, by not following the rule of law in the fight against corruption may capable of disturbing the struggle against the menace.
“By now, the Judiciary, particularly, the Bench should purge itself of corruption which has been in the highest ebb in the arm of government because with the happening in the judiciary today, our Country is going to extinction. The Bench that are supposed to be in the vanguard of crusade against corruption now, soiled its hand with the bribery scandal and no fewer than Seventy–Five percent (75%) of Nigerian Judges since 2007 are billion Judges through ill-gotten wealth. All the Judges that participated in Election Petitions Tribunals since 2007 till date should be investigated and after found guilty, their ill-gotten wealth and property should be confiscated to become the wealth and property of the country.
It therefore urged Buhari to strengthen the anti-graft agencies, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related offences Commission (ICPC) in order to be able to nip the menace in the bud, stressing that the offenders of the corrupt practices, had developed new parameters in their financial crimes.
Comrade Adeniyi, Alimi Sulaiman,
Executive Chairman, Centre for Human Rights and Social Justice (CHRSJ)