Walter Onnoghen, Chief Justice of Nigeria, has called for the review of process of appointing Judges in the country as the current practice has become highly politicized.
Onnoghen said this at the first Biennial Lecture of the Lagos State Judiciary with the theme: “Judicial Standards, integrity, respect and public perception: A comparative analysis from independence in 1960 to the present millennium”.
The event which held on Monday at the Lagos City Hall, was chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who was represented by Abiodun Aikumo, his Senior Special Adviser on Financial Crimes,
Onnoghen, represented by Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour of the Supreme Court, said the way the appointment of Judges is currently structured, State governors have the powers to decline approval for a nominee they dislike
“Appointment of judges have become highly politicised as a governor of a state will not approve the names of persons nominated for the bench for NJC scrutiny if the names of his candidates are not included on that list,” he stated.
Onnoghen also said the standard of the Nigerian justice system is falling, no thanks to the quality of its Bar and Bench. According to him, “there cannot be a strong bench without a strong Bar, since judges are appointed from among lawyers”.
He urged judges to desist from posting personal information online, as well as family related activities such as holidays and the likes. He also advised that any judge who wishes to comment on a public discourse must do so anonymously.
As part of the needed reforms in the appointment of judges, Onnoghen was of the opinion that anybody to be appointed as a judge must, in addition to a 10-year post call experience, possess a post-graduate law degree.