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LEGAL PRACTITIONER CANVASSES REVIEW OF COMPOSITION OF NJC AND FJSC

LEGAL PRACTITIONER CANVASSES REVIEW OF COMPOSITION OF NJC AND FJSC

Chairman, Body of Benchers, Chief Wọlé Olanipekun, SAN, has called for a review of the composition of the National Judicial Council (NJC) and the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC).

He noted that with what the profession is experiencing in recent years, the composition of the two bodies should be completely rejigged, readjusted, retooled, recast and overhauled, to bring in independent people to perform the functions now vested in the two bodies, regarding recruitment, appointment, discipline and welfare of Judges and judicial officers.

The learned silk stated this in a paper titled, “The Allegation of Corruption in the Legal Profession: Who is to Blame” delivered at the 2022 Annual Alao Aka-Bashorun Memorial Lecture organized by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja Branch.

Chief Olanipekun spoke against the background of the May 3 valedictory speech of a recently retired Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Ejembi Eko who suggested that budgetary allocation of the Judiciary be subjected to investigation by the anti-graft agencies.

Justice Eko also quoted the Director of Budget, Federal Ministry of Finance to have stated recently at the memorial lecture in honour of the late Abdullahi Ibrahim, SAN, at the Shehu Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja that “it is baffling that the welfare of Judges remains in abject state in spite of the increase of the budgetary allocation to the Judiciary under this regime. Why? The said Director of Budget suggested that the panacea to the often touted underfunding of the Judiciary would be for “the judiciary to allow its books to be opened” by the relevant authorities.

Chief Olanipekun described the development at the apex court as topical and unprecedented legal conundrum which has to be nipped in the bud.

He therefore urged stakeholders in the nation’s Judiciary to wade into the matter as quickly as possible.

One of the discussants, Yemi Candide-Johnson, SAN, said the function of the legal system cannot be achieved if practitioners continue to destroy it with lies.

He remarked that if the system was corrupted, it would be difficult to get justice.

Candide-Johnson regretted that some justices of the apex court had failed in the description of the character of an upright Judge.

“When you take oath as a Judge, it is not a game. If you can’t do it, leave it.”

A Life Bencher, Dele Adesina, SAN, also said lawyers should be courageous enough to reject forum shopping from clients.

He stressed the need for the disciplinary committee of the NBA to be able to sanction members as appropriate.

On his part, Muiz Banire, SAN, remarked that lawyers were the cause of the problems in the Judiciary saying, “If we don’t regulate ourselves now, it will give room for external body to regulate us.

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