NJC To Blame For Judges’ Arrest, says SERAP

While the Senate is said to be trying to amend the SSS Act, a human rights advocacy group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has blamed the arrests of judges over alleged corruption on the failure of NJC to live up to its responsibility of purging the judiciary of its rot.

The group, in an open letter on Tuesday, demanded that the NJC should hand over the judges to the anti-graft agencies for probe and prosecution, following their release on bail by the DSS.

In the letter signed by its Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, SERAP said though the NJC was in the best position to sanction erring judges, but its usual practice of merely sending culpable judges on retirement without prosecuting them had encouraged corruption in the judiciary.

The group recalled that it recently forwarded to the NJC a copy of its latest report titled, ‘‘Go home and sin no more: Corrupt judges escaping from justice in Nigeria", where it chronicled no fewer than 64 cases where judges were disciplined in that manner by the NJC between 2009 and 2014.

It said, “SERAP is seriously concerned that over the years the NJC has felt satisfied with applying only civil sanctions and has not deemed it fit to hand over corrupt judges to law enforcement agencies for prosecution nor recover the proceeds of corruption.

“This omission has left a destructive gap in judicial accountability in Nigeria, and resulted in other agencies of government, with no mandate, expertise and experience in the field, getting involved in the efforts to combat judicial corruption.”