Mr Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, has blamed members of the Bar for the vices in the Judiciary. In an article, Falana, advised that to avoid any further embarrassment in the circumstances, the Bar and the Bench should immediately strengthen their disciplinary bodies with a view to removing the few corrupt judges and lawyers whose criminal activities have continued to erode public confidence in the judiciary.
In his words: “In particular, the Nigerian Bar Association which has information on all corrupt judges and lawyers in the country have continued to shield them to the embarrassment of incorruptible members of the bar and the bench. The few lawyers who have plucked up the courage to expose corrupt judges and lawyers have been stigmatised and treated like lepers by their colleagues. It is on record that when both the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Offences Commission and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission sent invitation letters to judges suspected of corruption they had rushed to the Federal High Court to obtain interlocutory injunctions to prevent their arrest, investigation and prosecution.
“About two years ago, an anti graft agency found N2 billion in the account of a high court judge. As soon as the judge was invited for questioning she reported and made a statement and was granted bail. But as she could not defend the lodgement in her bank account she obtained an interlocutory injunction from one of the judges in the custody of the SSS. It is common knowledge that two Senior Advocates of Nigeria are standing trial in the Lagos high court for allegedly bribing a judge. Even though it takes two to tangle the judge has not been charged to court for allegedly receiving bribe.
“Having failed to take advantage of the relevant statutory disciplinary bodies to purge the bar and the bench of corrupt elements the members of the legal profession have themselves to blame for the harassment of judges by security forces. It is on account of negligence on the part of the legal profession that the SSS which screens candidates before they are recommended by the National Judicial Council for appointment as judges has now engaged in the arrest of judges for alleged corruption and abuse of office. To avoid any further embarrassment in the circumstances, the bar and the bench should immediately strengthen their disciplinary bodies with a view to removing the few corrupt judges and lawyers whose criminal activities have continued to erode public confidence in the judiciary.