Justice Mukhtar Promises To Fight Corruption

Justice Aloma Mariam Mukhtar The Senate on Wednesday unanimously confirmed the nomination of Justice Aloma Mariam Mukhtar as Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).

This came after about two hours of grilling by the Committee, answering questions on national and judicial matters.

Justice Mukhtar told the Senate that she was determined to flush out corrupt judges from the system.

She noted that there is corruption in every system, adding that she cannot pretend that the judiciary is free of the problem.

Justice Mukhtar stated that she would initiate internal cleansing to flush out corrupt judges.

According to her, “Corruption is in every system of our society and I cannot pretend that it is not in the judiciary. What I intend to do to curb this is leading by example and pray that others will follow.

“As Chairman of the National Judicial Council (NJC), I will encourage internal cleansing, based on petitions. But that is not to say that I will condone frivolous petitions. Each petition will be looked at on its merit.

“I will also seek the cooperation of my colleagues in the council to ensure that discipline is ensured accordingly.”

On poor perception of the judiciary by the public

She said: “Indeed, as it is now, it is very bad and I’m saddened. I will try – I don’t want to sound like a broken record here – I will try to make sure that the confidence reposed in the judiciary as it were before is restored.

“I will try as much as possible to ensure that the bad eggs that are there (Judiciary) are flushed out. There will cleansing by the NJC, based on petitions.

“It is sad that the ordinary man in the street thinks and feels that he cannot get justice and this is because of the situation we find ourselves.

“I will ensure that this perception is improved.”

On terrorism

She said there is no law to deal with terrorism cases in the country, adding that once a law is passed, the judiciary will comply to deal with anybody found guilty of terrorism.

Justice Mukhtar said she was aware that Nigerians are very anxious to see that terrorism is curbed.

“We can only do that if there is a law, but right now there is no law on terrorism. Hence, I would say the ball is in your court and the court of the executive.

“Once a law is passed, the judiciary will make sure that it complies with it and make sure that it deals with anybody found guilty of the offence,” she said.

But Senate President David Mark reminded her there is “Terrorism Prevention Act 2011”.

On plea bargain, Justice Mukhtar said there was “no harm in it if it is done in good faith and in good conscience”.

On the establishment of special courts on terrorism

She said: “My take is that rather than establishing a court just for that purpose, it would be better if a judge of a court is designated to hear and take these matters.

“If a court is created as time goes by, the offences may continue to go down (diminish) and if a court is specifically set up for that, there will not be much for the judge to do.

“In my view, once a judge, or two judges or even three in a judicial division are designated to deal with these offences, I think it will suffice.”

On frivolous injunctions by judges

Justice Mukhtar said: “It is true that right from the time of Hon. Justice Mohammed Uwais, there have been directives to judges to be very cautious on granting injunctions.

“In fact, the National Judicial Institute, on many occasions, conducted hearing on this particular issue but somehow, down the line, some judges will not heed the advice and directive they have been given.

“The National Judicial Council will ensure that whenever any judicial officer contravenes the law or contravenes the directive given to him, with the cooperation of my colleagues, such an officer will be dealt with.”

On bail for those accused of terrorist acts

She said: “If a judge finds that there is nothing to warrant the remand of a person accused of terrorism, the judge will be at liberty to release him on bail.

“But we will partner effectively with the authorities to ensure we curb this and to ensure that unnecessary granting of bail is stopped.”

Justice Mukhtar said it would be unfair to single out the judiciary for blame for prison congestion.

“To say that it is the judiciary that should be blamed for congestion in prison will be most unfair,” She said.

  1. King Ita Ukpabio Reply

    Congratulation madam Chief Justice, please render your services without fear or fevor, know that Nigerians and the whole world will be watching you and your actions, single out yourself from the intention of public servant in NIgeria “corruption”

Leave a Reply