The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, has cautioned politicians and the public against attempts to undermine the independence of the judiciary.
The CJN spoke at the opening of the meeting of the Body of Attorney Generals with the theme, “Enhancing synergy between the federal and state governments on the administration of justice in Nigeria,” which was held in Abuja on Tuesday.
The statement after the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) released Ethics and transparency index report which categorized the Supreme Court, the National Judicial Institute (NJI), Ministry of Education and 49 others as high corruption risk.
The assessment report by the ICPC is part of its mandate where it deploys the Ethics and Integrity Compliance Scorecard (EICS) in federal government’s ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to assess their compliance to extant ethical, integrity, statutory, policy and regulatory standards and practices.
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The assessment, according to the ICPC, is part of the Commission’s preventive mandate as provided in Section 6(b)-(d) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.
The CJN, who was represented at the event by a justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, also solicited quicker action on the new welfare package for judicial officers and financial autonomy for the judiciary.
He said, “I wish to let whoever cares to listen know that nobody, no matter his or her position in society, should mistake our golden silence for weakness or vulnerability.
“The judiciary under my watch will not sit by the sidelines to watch the temple of justice and ministers of justice being flagrantly chastised and whipped into silence.
“Nigeria is governed by its constitution and the rule of law ought to superintend our demeanour.
“No one, I repeat, no one in this country is permitted under any guise, to take the laws into his or her own hands simply because he or she has the guns to wield.
“The earlier the judiciary and the courts are respected, the better for us.”
Also speaking, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), advocated further collaboration between the chief law officers on the implementation of the fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy as contained in the constitution, and in the domestication of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, and Child Rights Act among others.
Earlier, the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Yakubu Maikyau (SAN), charged the chief law officers to be vigilant in protecting the access to justice and the socio-economic interests of their respective states on behalf of the people.
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