A former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attahiru Jega has accused some judges who sit on election tribunals of selling judgments to the “highest bidders”.in order to enrich themselves and quickly retire to avoid being sanctioned by the National Judicial Council (NJC).
Jega made this accusation on Wednesday while speaking at Owolabi Afuye Memorial Lecture organized by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Oyo branch.
He said the NBA and the body of benchers need to address the issues of corrupt judges in order to save the country from a crisis because their fraudulent activities are parts of the factors fuelling underdevelopment and insecurity in the country.
The former INEC boss added that the activities of these corrupt judges undermine the country’s security when they use “technicalities” to win cases.
Jega said, “Some senior lawyers have become stupendously wealthy defending corrupt public officials, or handling electoral litigation for governorship and presidential candidates.
“Similarly, many judges have become notorious for corrupt enrichment for ‘cash and carry’ judgments, especially in election matters generally and in election tribunals, more specifically.
“Some election tribunal appointments were in the past widely said to have been made to senior judges about to retire, who allegedly ‘sold’ judgments, most likely to the highest bidders, enriched themselves and quickly retired to avoid being sanctioned by the National Judicial Council.
“When lawyers use technicalities to subvert justice and ‘win’ cases without regard to perpetration of injustices, they basically help to undermine, rather than enhance national development, peaceful coexistence and security.
“They discard ethical and professional conduct, and put parochial and/or self-serving objectives in the forefront of their practices.”
Jega said owing to the security challenges, many scholars are “beginning to perceive Nigeria now, perhaps exaggeratedly, as a failed state”.
He said, “In some areas of the country, notably north-east and north-west geopolitical zones, famine is imminent, as insurgents and/or bandits have obstructed farming and agrarian food production and destabilized the rural economy, with outright killing of whoever ventures out to their farms, or imposition heavy taxation on those allowed to farm.”
“Indeed, things have been so bad for so long that some scholars are beginning to perceive Nigeria now, perhaps exaggeratedly, as a ‘failed state’.”
KabyiDaily recalls that Jega had said the North is the headquarters of poverty, insecurity, and a host of other problems because leaders from the region are selfish and lack vision for development.