By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON, Kaduna.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has thrown its weight behind the arrest of some High Court judges and justices of the Supreme Court by the Department for State Security (DSS)
In a statement, signed by its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, MURIC slammed the umbrella body of Nigerian lawyers, the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) for demanding the immediate release of the arrested men.
“Men of the Department of State Services (DSS) recently raided the homes of some Nigerian judges. Huge amounts of foreign and local currencies were seized and about seven judges are still in detention. The Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) consequently issued a warning to boycott courts unless the judges are set free.
“The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) welcomes the action taken by the Federal Government to curb corruption in the judiciary. Recent revelations have shown that judges collude with criminals and corrupt politicians to thwart efforts aimed at reducing the rate of crime and corruption. The judiciary as the last hope of the common man must be above board. Therefore the bad eggs must be dealt with,” it said.
The group said that it was deeply disturbed by the reaction of the NBA.
“Is this body telling us that judges are sacred cows? Are they above the law? Must we fold our arms while Nigerian judges corruptly enrich themselves and justice is made available only to the rich?
“NBA must look around the world and tell us where judges are allowed to get away with dirty deals. India, China and Ghana are good examples. 867 Indian judges were arrested and punished for corrupt practices in 2011. Two other judges were arrested in India in 2014 for collecting money to settle cases in favour of the givers.
“Just last year 2015, Xi Xiaoming, vice president of the Supreme People’s Court of China was arrested for receiving money from litigants. China’s lawyers did not pull down the Chinese sky. But in Nigeria, NBA wants us to rain praises on corrupt judges,” it pointed out.
MURIC also recalled that in Ghana, about 34 judges were recently charged for corruption.
“Twenty of them were dismissed on December 8, 2015. Ghanaians did not celebrate the corrupt judges. But in Nigeria, all hell is let loose each time somebody from our religion or tribe is facing corruption charges. The focus this time is quite saddening coming from a much revered profession, the law itself.
“How on earth do Nigerians think corruption can be eliminated or reduced if we always want to defend the indefensible once he has the slightest affiliation to us? Or is it ghosts that have been stealing our money? The thief must belong somewhere. He will either be a Muslim, a Christian, a politician or a judge.
“Our duty as a serious people is to leave the thief alone. Allow the anti-graft agents to do their job. It is disgusting that NBA has abused due process. They know the law. They know that a man (or a judge?) is assumed innocent until he is proved guilty. This has been a gospel preached by their members all over the place. Does it mean they don’t mean it? Is it because the knife is now turned inwards? But this same knife has been used by lawyers and judges to cut millions of necks. Why is it that they now realize it is too sharp?” It queried.
MURIC appealed to the NBA and all other stakeholders to allow justice to take its due course.
“We all pledged unalloyed support to the Federal Government’s war against corruption. Let us clean the Augean stable without let or hinderance. The time to do it is now,” it emphasized.
By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON, Kaduna.