JUST IN: Allegation Of Bribery At Kano Tribunal

Early this week, the head of the Kano State National and State Houses of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal, Justice Flora Azinge, was reported in the media to have alleged that there were attempts by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, to influence the proceedings and outcome of her tribunal.

She claimed that the said SAN, whose name she did not mention, has a pending case before her court and is trying to bribe her. The tribunal head further alleged that money has been flying around the tribunal and warned against anyone approaching her with money again or collecting any financial inducement on her behalf….CONTINUE READING

In her opinion, the warning was a reaction to insults judges receive based on the allegation that they take bribes. To drive home her point, Justice Azinge invoked the wrath of God on anyone who dared to collect money on her behalf.

That allegation, grievous as it should be, expectedly, is generating a heated controversy involving the operatives of the concerned political parties who have been pointing accusing fingers at one another as well as lawyers who consider the allegation sufficiently embarrassing.

PAY ATTENTION:  JUST IN: Refineries: All eyes on Tinubu over December deadline promise

A SAN, Eyitayo Fatogun, who was said to be in court when the judge raised the issue, took the judge up on the matter on behalf of all lawyers present, and urged her to escalate the matter to the appropriate authorities. To bolster his argument, the senior counsel said he was privy to cases where judges who failed to report cases of this nature were cited for judicial misconduct.

In our considered opinion, Justice Azinge would have helped the interest of justice by being specific in her allegation. Mentioning the name of the lawyer who tried to use money to pervert and influence the tribunal would have been a more appropriate step to take in her bid to shield the tribunal from the shenanigans of desperate politicians intent on gaining through the tribunals what they lost at the polling booths.

It is an open secret that the judiciary is often accused of corruption especially during politically charged situations as we have around the country presently. While the charges are sometimes unfair, in a number of cases however, the decisions and judgements they deliver, fly in the face of logic, fact or commonsense. The National Judicial Council (NJC) has been forced to pay attention on a few occasions.

PAY ATTENTION:  BREAKING: Governance In Imo State Has Collapsed, Alleges Nwulu As Uzodinma Is Accused Of Abandoning Duties

It is disheartening that some lawyers should demean their profession to the point of becoming bribe conduits for desperate, deep-pocket clients. That explains the huge legal fees that feature during electoral cases. There is no record of a judicial officer making such pecuniary advances to litigants whose cases are pending before them. But that does not exculpate them from guilt by virtue of the fact that they, eventually, benefit from the sleaze.

We commend Justice Azinge for speaking out and urge her not to rule out formally reporting the matter to the appropriate authorities. We are in utter shock that this kind of conversation should ever come up in the first place.

The judiciary has a sacred duty to discharge as part of their contribution to the enhancement of the democratic culture. Allegations of this nature by a serving tribunal head ought not to be in the public space. Now that it is there, it must not be taken lightly. We recall that similar allegations of bribery involving a member of the House of Representatives which was duly investigated later led to the lawmaker’s conviction.

PAY ATTENTION:  Reasons why mahdiyyat congregation can’t forget alhaji OGUNGBO

We insist that the relevant security agencies and or the NJC itself should put processes in place to carry out a thorough investigation of the matter. Our argument is that taking her allegations a step further through a thorough investigation, will help the effort to cleanse the Augean stable the judiciary is perceived to have become.

We are persuaded by the dictates of natural justice to remind, not just the tribunal, but also the judiciary as a whole that the world is watching and justice must not only be done always but be seen to have been done in electoral matters as well as in other cases brought before the temple of justice, the last hope of the oppressed….CONTINUE READING