Money: Judges’ Fatal Attraction

TELL Cover Page

TELL Cover Page

Is there any connection between allegations of misdemeanor against Danladi Umar, chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT and the Supreme Court ruling in favour of Bukola Saraki, embattled senate president? Perhaps if there is any we may never get to know, at least for a long time to come. What we do know is that allegations of corruption in the judiciary could be unsettling for a government that is resolved to fight corruption to a stand still. It should also embarrass the National Judicial Council, NJC headed by Mahmoud Mohammed, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, who always reiterates his commitment to the eradication of corruption at the temple of justice.

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Curiously noble men of the bar and the bench hardly agree on the issue of corruption in the judicial sector nor how to deal with it.

In fact, Mohammed and Augustine Alegeh, president of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA clashed recently at the special session of the Supreme Court to mark the start of the new legal year. While the CJN condemned “unfortunate and unguarded comments of some prominent members of the Bar that the judiciary is corrupt”, Alegeh accused some judicial officers of “standing the law on its head and making pronouncements which are at variance with the provisions of the law.” The innuendo oftentimes does not go beyond shadow boxing.

There, however, have been cases when whispers about misdemeanor in the judicial system boil over to finger pointing. Some of those indicted and sanctioned in the past had long been suspected of sharp practices before they approached the banana peel. Are we getting to that level now?

In keeping with our social responsibility to assist in making the country a better place for all, we decided to look at the issue of corruption in the judiciary. What we came up with is the story, Money: Judges’ Fatal Attraction. Anayochukwu Agbo, general editor and head of Abuja bureau who did some valuable leg work, with the assistance of Tajudeen Suleiman, senior associate editor, wrote the story. It is our lead for the week.

If Nigeria is to be made better, however, the team work of the new ministers will make a lot of difference.

People are clapping, from within and outside the country for some of the appointees, even as some are believed to have competence in areas different from their ministries. So how does this affect the yearnings of Nigerians, for improved infrastructure, power and better economy?

The focus of our story, which is the alternate cover in this edition, is the relatedness of the training and antecedent of some of the ministers to their portfolios. That is what we have in Cabinet: Square Pegs And Round Holes. The writer? The same Agbo. Again, he dominates the story.

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Last week we told you in this column that Anthony Akaeze had packed his bag to go to South Africa. He did not after all, not because he chickened out, but because the South African embassy was not persuaded that such exercise was worth granting visa for. That country and its visa laws is a story for another day. However, Akaeze once again won the award for his category. He was not there, but his fame as a tested journalist echoed in Johannesburg. TELL won and Akaeze shone. Even before the judges spelt his name in South Africa, the management of TELL had given Akaeze a handshake. For his exploits, the man we call ‘Big Tony’ in the newsroom has been promoted Associate Editor!

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