A civil society organization, Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), has called on the Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman, National Judicial Council (NJC), Justice Walter Onnoghen, to review the membership of the Corruption and Financial Cases Monitoring Committee recently constituted by the NJC.
This, the organization said, is to ensure that people with blighted reputations are not allowed to sit on the committee.
The organization, previously known as Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, made the call in a letter addressed to the CJN by Mr. Debo Adeniran, its Executive Chairman.
Dated 6 October, the letter listed Messrs. Wole Olanipekun and JB Dauda, both Senior Advocates of Nigeria, as being unworthy to sit on the committee.
While commending the choices of Justice Ayo Salami, retired President of the Federal Court of Appeal, and Mr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), CACOL maintained that Messrs. Olanipekun and Dauda have no business being on the committee because they have used their legal skills to defend corruption suspects.
“The lawyers we are talking about have been persistent in defending suspected corruption criminals and helping looters with the benefit of their knowledge of the law to wriggle through the lacunae to escape justice. Their regular justification has always been ‘we are only doing our work’. It is against the foregoing that we are urging you not to take the risk of allowing people who are corrupt or have allegations of corruption that can distort your good intentions on the committee,” stated CACOL.
The group also demanded a thorough screening of all the members of the committee to establish and make public what qualifies them for membership of the committee.
“The judiciary remains the last hope of the common people. In a situation where the judiciary can longer serve the purpose of its creation, it becomes anachronistic, useless, and self-help becomes the only hope, which is a recipe for anarchy. We believe that the present government’s efforts on anti-corruption have its gains that are commendable and with judiciary rising to the occasion, we can end the repeated starts we have been making at excising corruption from our country,” reasoned CACOL.