Photo: Akpata, ex-NBA President.
Politicians have captured the judiciary —Ex-NBA President
A former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olumide Akpata, has raised the alarm over what he described as deliberate attempts among the political class to capture the judiciary in the country.
Akpata made the submission at an International Bar Association (IBA) gathering recently with a video of the event posted on Twitter (X).
The erudite lawyer said the trend was yielding result for the political class, stressing that during his tenure as head of the bar what he saw in NBA’s committees was frightening.
“Forgive us for fixating on this problem because the IBA as the global legal voice has a role to play in what I call Judiciary capture.
“I find out that there is a deliberate attempt by the political class to capture the judiciary and it has serious consequences for the rule of law in Nigeria.
“It is deliberate and it is intentional and it is achieving result for them.
“As the President of the bar, I sat on NBA committees and what I saw there was bizarre,” Akpata said.
Speaking further, the former NBA chairman stated that the process of appointments of Judges in Nigeria was ridiculous, noting that it would be difficult for a good Judge to emerge.
He supported recent comments by Chidi Odinkalu, former chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, who recently complained about lopsided appointments of Judges and other corruption acts in the Nigerian judiciary.
He complained about the poor remuneration of Judges and appealed to IBA to help speak out about the situation to salvage the judiciary in Nigeria.
According to him, “What Chidi Odinkalu pointed out is very clear, it is a major problem, that we are confronted with in Nigeria.
“Nigeria is the largest black nation on earth and what happens in Nigeria has implications world over.
“A good Judge would only emerge through that process by luck. The way Judiciary appointments is done in Nigeria is ridiculous.
“I hope the IBA would ascertain if what I say is correct and lend its voice.
“Firstly, the process of appointments of judges.
“Secondly, the impoverishment of Judges in Nigeria, remuneration.
“I don’t want to tell you what they earn, meanwhile they are still considered as members of the upper echelon of the society.
“Their kids want to go to Cambridge, Harvard, but they can’t afford it, but i want to assure you that their kids are in Oxford, your guess is good as mine; how did those kids get their?
The former NBA President’s comments came amid recent revelations by retired Supreme Court Justice, Musa Dattijo, about the corruption in the judiciary and absolute power of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).
Dattijo had said a number of respected senior members of the bar, who cited the cases of Ahmed Lawan, the former President of the Senate and the Imo Governorship appeals, claimed that decisions of even the apex court had become unpredictable.