According to reports, the National Judicial Council, NJC, yesterday, said it would not hand over Judges accused of corruption by the federal government to anti-graft agencies for investigation.
In a letter dated October 26, 2016, and addressed to a human rights organisation, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project,the NJC said it is not part of its statutory responsibilities to hand over the judges to anti-graft agencies for investigation and prosecution.
The NJC also stated in the letter that it does not also recover proceeds of corruption and had no power to dismiss erring judges.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, in his reply to SERAP, which had requested the NJC to hand over the seven judges recently arrested for alleged corruption to anti-graft agencies turned down the request.
The NJC said its duty stopped at making recommendations to the executive after looking into petitions against judges.
It stressed that it could not take responsibility for the failure of the President and governors to implement the NJC’s recommendations.
The CJN said, “It is necessary to restate that the NJC is a creation of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended) being established under Section 153 with its mandate clearly set out in Para 21, Part One of the Third Schedule to the Constitution.
“This provision clearly stipulates at Paragraph 21(b) and (d) that the council may only ‘recommend’ to the President and the governors, the removal from office of judicial officers and to exercise disciplinary control over such judicial officers, which, in effect, is the extent of its power to discipline. Hence, the council cannot, suo moto dismiss any judicial officer.
“The NJC can also neither ‘hand over’ corrupt judges to law enforcement agencies for prosecution nor recover proceeds of corruption, as you have suggested. It can merely recommend to act upon its findings, as it has always done.”