Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has stated that President Muhammadu Buhari anti-corruption campaign sweeping through the judiciary was to ensure its independence.
He said this on Tuesday at the conferment of honorary fellowship on him and three others by the Nigerian Institute of Advance Legal Studies, NIALS.
In his speech, Osinbajo said that institutions were challenged by falling standards, corruption, and abuse of office.
The VP observed that one of the great difficulties of the legal profession in Nigeria is “our shyness and reluctance to call ourselves to order.”
“Nobody wants to be held responsible for possibly ending the career of another. So we watch the decay and gradual collapse of an excellent tradition built on the self-restraint, sacrifices and integrity of many in the past 100years.
“We in the legal profession owe ourselves a duty to preserve the Administration of Justice System not only because it is the last hope of the common man but because this is our means of livelihood.
“Our profession and the credibility of the Administration of Justice System depends entirely on public confidence, once that is eroded because of the delinquency of a few, we, the majority must fight hard against it.
“Judicial independence is spoken of sometimes as though it is a favour we do to the judiciary: no it is not. It is not a favour or a privilege to them. It is the essence of our system of justice.
“A judge must be independent for at least one reason: so that he or she can be fair and just, without fear or favour. This is the reason why the executive must neither interfere in judicial process nor attempt to compromise judicial independence in any way.
“It is to protect judicial independence that we must fight corruption. The most potent threat against judicial independence is corruption. If a litigant can buy justice, how can a compromised judge be fair or just?” Osinbajo quipped.
Others honorees were Hon Justice Amina Augie, Justice of the Supreme Court, Prof. Ameze Guobadia, former Director-General of the NIALS, and Chief Joe Kyari Gadzama SAN.