Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, yesterday accused senior lawyers in the Judiciary of knowing the identities of corrupt Judges, following their unguarded comments that the judiciary is corrupt.
Speaking during a special session of the Supreme Court to mark the commencement of the 2015/2016 legal year and swearing-in of newly conferred Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Justice Mohammed urged the senior lawyers to fish out the identities of the corrupt judges so that they could be properly dealt with by the National Judicial Council, NJC.
He advised the newly sworn-in SAN’s to display with utmost integrity and humility in helping the court to dispense justice.
The CJN, who dismissed calls for the abolition of SAN title to deserving senior lawyers, held that the act is backed by Section 5 (1) of the Legal Practitioners Act, adding that “it is indeed a statutorily recognised privileged.
“As much as I will concede that the system of conferment may require reforms, it’s abolition will tantamount to proverbially throwing away the baby with the bath water. In any event, none of us here can decisively abolish the rank.”
The CJN said it is only the National Assembly that could abolish it via a bill of both chambers, saying that in the absence of this, the legal practitioners should close ranks and seek constructive solutions to the challenges confronting the legal profession.
The CJN noted that this year’s conferment exercise was unique in the history of SAN appointment as five candidates allowed to appeal earlier disqualification were successful as two of these persons have been dully confirmed for the appointment.
“I am proud to say that only the best equipped candidates, both intellectually and materially, were short listed for the conferment of the SAN title,” the CJN added.
The CJN called for a synergy between the bar and the bench in ensuring that only fit and proper persons remain in practice and promised to strengthen the initiative so as to encourage a viral bar-bench relationship.
On his part, the President of the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, Augustine Alegeh, SAN, condemned the recent face-off between the Code of Conduct Tribunal and the Federal High Court, saying it is an unnecessary distraction. He said,” the constitutional hierarchy of our courts is well settled and we urge all to respect it. This is not good for our judiciary. Let wise counsel prevail.”
He congratulated the new SAN’s on their elevation to the inner bar and urged them to be good ambassadors of the bar and worthy mentors to their junior colleagues.
Kola S. Okeaya-Inneh ,SAN, who spoke on behalf of the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria, stressed the need to look into the mode of principle in which appointment of members of the judiciary and mode of appointment are being made.
He added that, “there is a pressing need for the law school to go back to the first principles in the training, such that those that are called to the bar are able to cope with the challenges posed by the Justice delivery system in the 21st century.”
He also emphasised the need for the review of the appointment processes to be cut across board to enable the system gain acceptability and respectability and further commended the president of the NBA and his executive in their on-going innovations to weed out quackery in the legal profession.
The ceremony was well attended by the Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mariam Aloma Muhktar, governors and other relevant stakeholders in the judiciary amongst others.

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