A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Jibrin Okutepa, has claimed that judicial appointments in the country have been politicised and bastardized.
In a post via his X handle on Sunday, Okutepa said appointments to the Bench diminished and became politicised when the salaries and allowances of judicial officers were increased by the executive.
Okutepa said the judiciary has been castrated or has allowed itself to be castrated by those who are too inferior to dare the institution, stressing that people no more respect judicial institutions.
He claimed that the political class who have politicized the judicial system began to lobby for their relatives and cronies they could manipulate to be made judges.
He wrote: “In normal climes, people depend on the judiciary for remedies. When you are wronged by the powerful, the judiciary comes to your rescue/aid. Judiciaries in such climes are feared, and in ordinary letters from lawyers, the wrongdoers will call you for settlement.
“But in my country Nigeria, people dare you to go to court. People no more respect judicial institutions. The judiciary has been castrated or has allowed itself to be castrated by those who are too inferior to dare the institution. Why this is so is not too far to comprehend.
“Appointments to the Bench, in most cases, have been bastardized. This started when the salaries and allowances of judicial officers were increased. Is it bad to increase the salaries and allowances of judicial officers? I am not saying so. But that was when those who were not doing well started rushing to be employed as judicial officers to make money.
“When men and women of weak character and integrity started finding their way to the Bench to make money, the awe with which judicial officers were held or of which the judicial institution was held became demystified.
“Many legal practitioners who could not otherwise do well but had connections started getting appointed to the Bench for monetary considerations and not for the interest of the job.
“The political class who have politicized our judicial system began to lobby for those they could manipulate to be made judges. They sponsored their relatives and croonies to the Bench.
“For me, we need to have a sound judicial system to strengthen our democracy. Once the judiciary is strong, democracy will be strong. Once the judiciary becomes independent, there will be accountability.
“Once judges and judicial officers have strong strength of character and are not timid in decisions, democracy will flourish in Nigeria. Once politicians know that they will go to jail and will not get away with their evil plots in electoral processes, democracy will become strong.
Story continues below advertisement
“Let us restore confidence in our judiciary by appointing men and women of strong character who can withstand temptations on the bench.”
© 2023 Vox9ja, a division of Polance Media Inc.