The National Judicial Council, NJC, has launched a National Judicial Policy, NJP, as well as inaugurated the Ethics Standing Committee.
The aim is to provide an oversight over judicial offices and court staff so as to ensure integrity and strengthen the independence of the judiciary.
Chairman of the NJC and Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Mahmud Mohammed, noted that the policy will serve as a legal backing for the several strategies and guidelines to be developed by the judiciary to continue to rid the sector of acts that are not in line with the rule of law and due process.
He however pointed out that the launch of judicial policy and the decision to set up the ethics committee pre-dates the events of October 7 and 8, when some senior judges’ were raided and arrested by the Department of State Security., DSS.
Mohammed said that he was hopeful that the new policy would go a long way in ensuring discipline among judicial officers and quality justice delivery.
To ensure enforcement of the policy, the CJN inaugurated a 10-man Ethics Standing Committee headed by former CJN, Legbo Kutigi, and comprises of former chief justices as well as the president of the Nigerian Bar Association.
Retired Justice Kutigi noted that the formation of the committee will put to rest a long held belief that the judiciary lacked a far reaching discipline structure.
The policy provides guidelines on judicial discipline, code of conduct, performance, independence of the judiciary, judicial transparency and anti-corruption.
Recall that seven judges, including two of the Supreme Court, were recently arrested by the DSS on allegations of corruption.
The DSS claimed it had overwhelming evidence that the judges had accepted huge sums of money in bribes in order to influence Justice.
They also said that huge sums of money in various currencies were recovered from the judges’ residences.