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Corruption in Nigerian judiciary is extensive – UNODC

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The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) says corruption is prevalent in the Nigerian judiciary.

A representative of the UNODC, Melissa Omene, said this on Friday at a judicial accountability event in Abuja.

The event was organised by Tapinitiative, a not-for-profit organisation

Speaking on a 2019 survey that was conducted by the UNODC and the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Ms Omene said the survey “found that 20 per cent of those who had contact with the Nigerian judiciary were confronted with a request for the payment of a bribe.

“Indeed, corruption in the Nigerian judiciary is extensive and both male and female judges are party to it.”

Giving a comparative analysis of the issue, a UNODC study on gender and corruption in 2020, disclosed that “male judges are far more likely to be involved in bribe-seeking conduct than their female colleagues.”

The study said corruption amongst judicial officers had eroded “public confidence in the judiciary.”

‘Why public trust in judiciary waning’
Weighing in on the quality of justice dispensation by Nigerian courts, a lawyer, Jibrin Okutepa, blamed lawyers and judges for the loss of public confidence in the judicial system.

Mr Okutepa, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and a former member of the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC), said the country is in a moral decay.

He decried the conduct of senior lawyers who compromise judges to get favourable verdicts.

“There is no accountability from the judiciary because the Nigerian society does not demand accountability,” he said.

The lawyer criticised the process of appointment of judges that is based on “rationing.”

Mr Okutepa pointed out that recent judgements of the Supreme Court on crucial cases dealt a fatal blow to public confidence in the judiciary to do justice on matters that come before it.

“The Supreme Court has elevated the rules of court above constitutional provisions. There is no accountability from the Nigerian judiciary,” he submitted.

He lamented that the age-old principle of judicial precedent has been bastardised across the courts in Nigeria.

“You can see five different decisions of the Supreme Court on one issue that are inherently contradictory,” Mr Okutepa said, adding that “precedents are set based on who is before the court.”

In the build-up to last year’s general elections, the Supreme Court delivered two separate judgements affirming the candidacy of Ahmad Lawan, a former Senate President, and Godswill Akpabio as authentic ticket-holders for the National Assembly elections in their respective states of Yobe and Akwa Ibom.

Messrs Lawan and Akpabio were presidential aspirants in the All Progressives Congress and could not have been aspirants at the same time for the parliamentary polls because of the latest provisions of the Electoral Act 2022.

But the Supreme Court in 2022 declared them winners of the legislative primary elections of the APC, a development that drew outrage amongst close observers of the Nigerian judiciary.

Mr Akpabio, a former governor of Akwa Ibom State and minister under ex-President Muhammadu Buhari, would later win the main election to become the current Senate President.

Similarly, a panellist at the event, Chioma Onyenucheya-Uko, said the judiciary missed an opportunity to bolster its public image when the Presidential Election Petition Court in Abuja last year rejected requests by the two leading opposition candidates – Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi – to have the court’s proceedings televised.

The panel, moderated by Lillian Okenwa, a journalist and lawyer, said nepotism was commonplace in judicial appointments.

But, a former judge of the Federal High Court, Ibrahim Buba, rated Nigerian judges high in the discharge of their duties.

Delivering a keynote address on the topic, “Impact of judicial accountability on public trust in the legal system,” Mr Buba said Nigerian judges stood up to dictators and democratic leaders in their judicial functions.

“…having regards to the conditions and environment of work, with all modesty, I say KUDOS to the Nigerian bar and the Nigerian bench, take away politics, where people differ on opinions and questions of law and both may be right, the Nigerian judiciary has given a very good account of itself,” Mr Buba said.

He explained that politicians “who cannot have their way undermine the independence of the Nigerian judiciary, not only starving it of funds but ensuring an erosion of independence of the judiciary and having friction and try to remove the chief judges unconstitutionally.”

“Nigerian judges are courageous, very, very courageous, they have dared the military, they have dared the political class, like every society, they have also dealt even with their colleagues who are found wanting.”

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I’m Still In Love, Man Begs Divorce Seeking Wife

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A housewife, Lawal Modupe Lawal, has approached an Upper Area Court in Kubwa, Abuja seeking the dissolution of her 17-year-old marriage to her husband, Ismaila on grounds of “lack of love and affection.”

Modupe told the court that she got married to Ismaila, according to Islamic laws on October 24, 2007.

The mother of three, said that her husband sent her out of her matrimonial home on June 17, 2023.

”I do not love him anymore and I want the court to dissolve the marriage, ” she said.

The husband, however, said that he still loves his wife and would not grant her a divorce.

He pleaded with court to call for a mediation with members of his family and his wife’s family.

The Judge, Mohammed Wakili, however advised the respondent to make efforts to win his wife’s love back.

Wakili also urged Modupe to give her husband a chance.

The judge gave the couple two weeks to settle their differences and report back to the court on May 2.

(NAN)

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House of Representatives shifts resumption date to April 30

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The House of Representatives has announced the further rescheduling of the resumption date from the ongoing recess. According to a release signed by Hon Akin Rotimi Jr. the House Spokesperson, the new resumption date is now set for Tuesday, April 30, 2024, at 11:00 a.m.

“This adjustment, as communicated by the Clerk of the House of Representatives, Dr. Yahaya Danzaria, Esq., in an internal correspondence to Honourable Members on Wednesday, is aimed at giving Honourable Members more time for constituency outreach to secure adequate input in the constitution review process.

“The extension follows the earlier decision by the House Committee on Constitution Review to extend the deadline for submission of memoranda to April 30, 2024.

“Additionally, the extended timeline will allow for more concerted preparation for the legislative summits on State Police, as well as the one on Tax Reforms, Revenue Enhancement, and Digital Transformation coming up in the next 2 weeks.

“All inconveniences arising from this rescheduling are regretted. In line with the Legislative Agenda of the 10th Assembly, the House remains committed to being accountable and providing timely communications to all stakeholders”.

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Naira Abuse: President Tinubu spraying cash at an event?

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President Bola Tinubu has been accused of abusing the naira at an event, following the arrest of personalities by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission.

In a viral video, Tinubu was seen dancing while being serenaded by Nigerian musician, Wasiu Ayinde, popularly known as k1 the ultimate, at the 80th birthday celebration of Rasak Okoya, a billionaire industrialist and the Aare of Lagos.

Accompanied by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and other notable personalities on the dancefloor, Tinubu reached out to his entourage and collected huge bundles of cash and handed it over to the singer.

The video originally captured by Ovation TV four years ago, was shared on X (formerly Twitter) by human rights activist, Omoyele Sowore on April 12, 2024, shortly after crossdresser, Idris Okuneye popularly known as Bobrisky was arrested and sentenced to 6 months in prison.

Sowore alleged that Tinubu abused the naira and called on the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to investigate the President.

Captioning the video, he wrote, “This @officialABAT abusing the naira at a party, spraying Wasiu Ayinde @k1theultimate, I hope @officialEFCC will prosecute him for this crime someday the same way @BobriskyIdris was prosecuted.”

Recall that the EFCC arrested Bobrisky and charged him to court where he was sentenced to six months in prison without an option of a fine for spraying and tampering with the naira.

On Wednesday, April 17, the anti-graft agency also arraigned businessman and social media influencer, Pascal Chubuike popularly known as Cubana Chiefpriest on charges of abusing the naira at some events.

This comes following an announcement by the EFCC that the commission would go after celebrities who are caught flouting the law that prohibits spraying of Naira or manhandling the naira in any way.

Meanwhile, several Nigerians have dismissed Sowore’s call, saying Tinubu did not abuse the naira but handed the money over to the singer as captured in the video.

Below are some comments;

@Kakanfo_: So giving naira to someone is abuse?

@dayo0629: Sir, if you believe that naira is been abusive in this video, it implies that you are dishonest and deceptive, resembling the corrupt politicians we all criticize.

@diaspora_prince: I didn’t see any abuse of the Naira in this video or is this one a mistake? Post the real one if it exist.

@iamkissking: This isn’t abuse of Naira

Guess you as a former president candidate doesn’t know the meaning of Naira abuse or what Naira abuse means fr

I don’t like BAT but did you see him spare it in the air? Did you see him step on it in that video you posted.

@lekanhaastrup: We respect you for the struggle and personally I don’t like what they did to Bob, whereas we have seen a lot of this celebrities spraying and abusing the note, but what are you trying to gain with this
@officialABAT video, his excellency committed no abuse here.

@_sonofalkebulan: My leader I’m forced to say what he did in this video doesn’t exactly qualify as mutilation of naira , he passed a bunch of money to another respectfully, you have taught me to stand for the truth and this is my truth on the matter sir

@akballack13: You just lost my respect. Everyone knows he didn’t spray money at Okoya’s birthday he only handed over bundle of money to him. You know what you are doing and you can do better @YeleSowore.

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