The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad on Wednesday admitted there is rampant corruption in the Nigerian judiciary.
He made the confession before the entire Senate in plenary while he was being screened for confirmation.
Justice Mohammad has been holding the exalted office in acting capacity following the removal of his immediate predecessor, Justice Walter Onnoghen.
Responding to question raised by Deputy Senate President, Omo-Agege on the menace of corruption to the dispensation of justice, CJN Tanko who painted a pitiable picture of the judiciary as one tier of government that was grossly underfunded, said the justices could not be insulated from corruption since they were part and parcel of the larger Nigerian society. He said:
“Talking about corruption in the society and judiciary in particular. Now I always say that the Nigerian judiciary is part and parcel of Nigeria, therefore I am not surprised if I see some justices are corrupt but that such judges who are corrupt should be identified and prosecuted under our laws.
“Now the most worrisome of this trend is at the lower ebb of our judiciary. For those of us who know the Area Courts and in the Magistrate Court, this is where the real problem arises.”
The CJN, however, said not all Justices fall for the temptation of financial inducements.
“Let me say generally that corruption is inbuilt in the person who wants to be corrupted because if there is no corruption there shall be no person who will be corrupted.
“Left to me, they should face the same music. Therefore I am charging the legislature both in state and federal levels to take a holistic look at our criminal laws. Let us amend them, let us take care of all the lapses in our laws. Let us provide adequately so that it will serve as a guide to these anomalies. It is the duty of the legislature to sensitise society.
“Much as the judiciary would like to work but once we don’t because what is given to us is limited by law but I believe the legislature at both federal and state levels have every power to legislate or to amend the existing legislations in this country.
“What we want is to see that you sanitise society. Gone are the days when we will sleep with our eyes closed in an open air space yet nobody will disturb you.”