8th March, 2013
Human rights lawyer, Mr. Bamidele Aturu, has called for the immediate sack of lazy judges as a way of sanitising the Nigerian justice system.
In a statement made available to P.M.NEWS, Aturu said that one of the major problems in the delay of justice administration in the country is the sheer laziness of some judges at both the state and federal levels.
Describing the situation as appalling, Aturu said: “Perhaps the most nauseating aspect of the decay in the system is the frustrating delay in disposition of cases due to sheer laziness of judges at all levels. How can one explain that a Court of Appeal would refuse to deal with motions or appeals in 20 cases simply because it was going to hear an interlocutory appeal emanating from an election petition? And that without the courtesy of sending a text message to lawyers many of who risk their lives traveling by air and on our death traps called roads and spend huge resources on hotel accommodation. If that is not irresponsible, then nothing else can be.”
He further stated that “the administration of justice system in Nigeria is notoriously in shambles, so much so that the crisis is itself paralysing. We have now reached a point that we need to bluntly say it the way it is: our people and our country are in serious trouble. We are at the point of structural, procedural and substantive failure of justice.
“The greatest danger is not that failure of justice can be taken for granted but that institutions or formations that ought to prevent the decay of the system are either complicit or benefiting from the rot.”
Calling for an immediate overhaul of the system, he said “this sort of horrendous indolence is only possible in a jungle. My position is that judges who are tired of their jobs should simply bow out. There is no divine right to be a judge. The intolerable judicial laziness is compounded by the way some of the judges address lawyers and litigants as if they are their slaves. Many of the judges are uncouth. When one remembers that these same people lobby to be appointed, one’s exasperation knows no bounds.”
Aturu also blamed the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, for being part of the problem as the association has become undemocratic and has refused to play its role in ensuring that the judicial system works well.
“The NBA is itself not interested in ensuring that lawyers and judges take their duties seriously. Many reasons can be adduced for the cult of silence. First, the NBA itself has become notoriously undemocratic. People seek offices in the association for sheer careerism and not for the pursuit of the noble objectives of the association.
“It has become in the hands of a reactionary cabal an instrument for positioning lackeys of the worst variety for government briefs. Second, many of those who lead the association want to be in the good books of lazy and corrupt judges, again to advance their careers and survive. It is therefore futile to expect the association to stand up to judges who don’t seem to understand the import of the oath they swore as judicial officers. In other words, the NBA is part and parcel of the disaster in the system.”
Aturu added that he will join other Nigerians to do everything democratically possible to flush out such people from the bench.