CDD Seeks Review Of Appointment Process For CJN, Judges

The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has called for a review ofvthe process of appointing the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and other judges.

The process of recruitment of judges in Nigeria has been a subject of intense debate amongst lawyers and civil society activists, who allege disregard for competence and merit.

Amid the controversies preceding resignation of Tanko Muhammad as CJN, the CDD said, “The process of appointing judges at all levels, including the CJN, should be reviewed,” calling for “competence and integrity.”

Fourteen Justices of the Supreme Court had, in a protest letter, accused the Mr Muhammad of neglecting their welfare as well as operational challenges that hamper effective adjudication of cases.

Shortly after the justices’ complaints became public, Mr Muhammad resigned, paving the way for the next most senior justice of the apex court, Olukayode Ariwoola, to be sworn in by President Muhammadu Buhari, on June 27.

In a statement issued on Monday by three professors who are fellows of the CDD – Adele Jinadu, Jibrin Ibrahim and Okey Ibeanu, the centre noted that the “excessive powers of the Chief Justice of Nigeria in the control of the Supreme Court and the National Judicial Council should be reviewed.”

It also called for an improved condition of service for judicial officers, while advocating proper guarantee of tenures of office “to insulate them from political and societal pressures and corrupting influences.”

‘Ex-CJN didn’t resign on his own’

Following the controversies that trailed Mr Muhammad’s exit from office, the CDD said “there have been allegations, rumours of bribery and undue interference of his (Mr Muhammad’s) family in the work of the Supreme Court.”

The centre said “there is no evidence to back” the allegations, but “the speculations suggest that he did not resign of his own volition.”

The former CJN had based his resignation on the grounds of ill-health.

Dissecting the implication of the 14 justices’ protest letter, the CDD said “the (former) CJN had lost the respect of virtually the entire justices of the Supreme Court.”

Executive’s interference in judiciary’s functions

The centre lamented the “challenge to the constitutional principle of separation of powers and the integrity and the independence of the judiciary.”

Recalling the controversial removal of a former CJN, Walter Onnoghen, in 2019, the centre said, “The not so hidden hands of the Presidency have also been often seen in the appointment and removal of judicial officers.”

It added that state judiciaries are grappling with the issue of interference from the governors.

Citing the midnight raids of judges’ homes in 2016, the centre noted, “The attacks on the houses of senior judicial officers, including justices of the Supreme Court have indicated Executive agency in the harassment and intimidation of the judiciary.”

“There is a challenge to the constitutional principle of separation of powers and the integrity and the independence of the judiciary,” it said.

On the issue of corruption, the centre expressed concerns that it has “penetrated the judiciary and threatens to compromise the whole system of justice delivery.”

It alleged that “judges have become very cozy with politicians and prominent members of society.” (PREMIUM TIMES)


For More News Join Our WhatsApp Group With This Link Below:
WhatsApp group:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.