After a two-day emergency meeting that ended in Abuja on Thursday, the National Judicial Council, NJC, have finally agreed that all the judges currently undergoing investigations over allegations of corruption should step down from the Bench pending their trial.
The NJC, headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed succumbed to intense pressures from several quarters notably the Nigerian Bar Association, (NBA), to suspend the judges.
A statement by the Acting Director of Information at the NJC, Mr. Soji Oye, disclosed that the Council equally constituted a Transparency and Anti-Corruption Policy Implementation Committee to be headed by a retired Justice of the Supreme Court.
“The National Judicial Council under the Chairmanship of the Hon. Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Mahmud Mohammed, GCON, at its 79th Meeting held on the 2nd and 3rd day of November 2016, commenced implementation of specific aspects of the National Judicial Policy which came into force in April 2016 and was launched on Monday 24th October, 2016,” the statement reads
“During the Meeting, Council set-up a Transparency and Anti-Corruption Policy Implementation Committee as follows: Hon Justice E. O. Ayoola, CON (Rtd Justice of the Supreme Court) – Chairman.
“Hon Justice Kashim Zannah, Chief Judge of Borno State – Member. A. B. Mahmoud, SAN, President Nigeria Bar Association – Member.
“Section 6 of the National Judicial Policy aims at putting in place multi-faceted strategies and guidelines that will ensure transparency and eliminate corruption in the Judiciary.
“It seeks, among other measures, to provide a platform and opportunity to citizens who profess factual and credible knowledge of information on the nature and modalities of corruption in the judicial system to ventilate such.
“Council also decided that Judicial Officers shall not be standing trial for alleged corruption related offences and be performing judicial functions at the same time.
“Council however decided that it will ensure that Judicial Officers who are being investigated for alleged high profile criminal offences do not perform judicial functions until their cases are concluded.”