The Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, has lashed out at the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and the National Judicial Council (NJC) over what they called baseless of defence of serving judicial officers whose residences were raided over allegation lf corruption.
MURIC which dismissed the position of the professional bodies of lawyer and judges as anti-people said there could be no “animal farm” treatment on issue of corruption.
Both the Nigerian Bar Association and the National Judicial Council (NJC) have come out strongly in condemning the raids and expressing solidarity with the affected judges.
Some sections of the legal profession had even called for strike action
The group however expressed grave concern at the reactions of both the NBA and the NJC.
It said their reactions have exposed them, and equally made them enemies of the masses.
In a statement signed by its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, the group said, ”Poor Nigerians who are at the receiving end of the impact of corruption on the citizenry know better.
“They know that corrupt judges who shield those who siphon public funds are the worst enemies of the people.
“There is no gainsaying the fact that corruption has been responsible for the poor state of our infrastructure and that poor infrastructure has kept Nigeria decades behind developed countries.
“It is responsible for the grinding poverty in the Nigerian society.
The statement went further to state that, ”Judges who hobnob with kleptomaniacs make it possible for them to escape justice and still enjoy their loot.
“If corrupt politicians have the noun ‘thief’, judges who aid and abet them are the ones who empower the thieves with the verb ‘to steal’.
“Corrupt judges are therefore the worst enemies of society and a threat to democracy.
”Some Nigerian judges treat thieves with honour and some rulings are so astonishing that they give the judges away.
“A pensions executive who misappropriated a whopping sum of N32 billion was fined a paltry sum of N2 million.
“A Nigerian judge gave James Ibori a clean slate in spite of 172 criminal charges.
“Another judge who managed to find Lucky Igbinedion guilty of stealing N25 billion fined him N3.5 million only!
“Nigerian judges freed Alamiesiagha but he was taught the lesson of his life by a British judge.
“These ludicrous judicial pronouncements merely succeed in perpetuating crime,” it said.
The organisation in the statement further said, ”MURIC is unimpressed with the response of the NBA to the raid on the homes of some judges.
“What did NBA say or do when Governor Dickson led thugs to attack a judge in Bayelsa?
“Was the NBA on sabbatical when Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State reportedly slapped an high court judge?
“Where was NBA when Justice Ayo Salami was rough-handled and suspended from the bench?
“Was it not because he allegedly refused to collect bribe from the then Jonathan government?
”The recent claim by the Civil Society Network Against Corruption, (CISNAC), that contrary to the claim of the NJC, there are at least 12 other petitions against many judges, all of which, the group said, were not appropriately treated by the council speaks volumes.
“The fact that NJC gave soft landing to some of the judges recently investigated by the council also leaves sour tastes in the mouth.
”We call on both the NJC and NBA to stand up to be counted with other patriotic Nigerians in the fight against corruption.
“Judges are not angels. They are human beings like the rest of us and if it is true that the law is no respecter of persons, should the same law respect lawyers and judges?
“Should we have separate laws for judges simply because they belong to the judiciary? What stops law enforcement agents from raiding suspected judges homes when the homes of many innocent Nigerians are known to have been raided before?” it queried.
MURIC consequently charged Nigerians ”to resist any attempt by the NJC and NBA to create George Orwell’s Animal Farm scenario. Nigerians should be on the tip-toes of the actualization of the principle of equality before the law.
“There is no “Four legs good, two legs better” here. It must never happen.
“Nigeria has only one constitution and judges and lawyers must submit themselves to the superiority of that single constitution.
“We say capital ‘NO’ to any Animal Farm agenda.
”Both the NJC and the NBA may learn from this parting spiritual diet.
“Islam rejects selective justice in all its ramifications.
“The Glorious Qur’an commands mankind to “Stand out firmly for justice…even against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, or whether it is against the rich or poor…” (Qur’an 4:135).
”NJC and NBA should therefore allow the law to take its due course even if action is being taken against their learned colleagues.
“There should be no camaraderie in corruption.
“The Qur’an warns against connivance with evil, by saying “Help one another in righteousness and piety but help not one another in sin and rancor. Fear Allah, for Allah is strict in punishment” (Qur’an 5:2),” the statement said.