Prof. Attahiru Jega, the former INEC chairman has reportedly stated that some corrupt judges are usually made part of election petition tribunals in order to corruptly enrich themselves by selling judgments to the highest bidders.
Jega reportedly disclosed this in a lecture he delivered at the Owolabi Afuye Memorial Lecture organised by the Nigerian Bar Association, Ibadan Branch as one of the events to mark its 2021 Law Week.
According to him, “Some senior lawyers have become stupendously wealthy defending corrupt public officials, or handling electoral litigation for governorship and presidential candidates.”
He stated that, “Similarly, many judges have become notorious for corrupt enrichment for ‘cash and carry’ judgments, especially in election matters generally and in election tribunals, more specifically.”
He disclosed that, “When lawyers use technicalities to subvert justice and ‘win’ cases without regard to perpetration of injustices, they basically help to undermine, rather than enhance national development, peaceful coexistence and security.”
He said that, “They discard ethical and professional conduct, and put parochial and/or self-serving objectives in the forefront of their practices.”
Jega noted that, “Specifically, on insecurity, a combination of militancy, insurgency, banditry, farmer-herder conflicts, kidnapping for ransom, and ethno-religious or communal conflicts, with evident lack of competence and capacity to address these challenges, has unleashed generalised individual and collective apprehension, palpable insecurity and fatalistic resignation.”
He maintained that, “Many citizens have been killed, maimed, raped, displaced, and properties stolen, confiscated and/or destroyed. Hundreds of thousands of citizens have been staying in Internally Displaced Persons camps for long, with the future of children compromised by malnutrition, diseases, and prolonged abandonment of schooling.”
He continued that, “In some areas of the country, notably North-East and North-West geopolitical zones, famine is imminent, as insurgents and/or bandits have obstructed farming and agrarian food production and destabilised the rural economy, with outright killing of whoever ventures out to their farms, or imposition heavy taxation on those allowed to farm.”
He asserted that, “Indeed, things have been so bad for so long that, some scholars are beginning to perceive Nigeria now, perhaps exaggeratedly, as a ‘failed state.’”