This is the official blog of the Nigeria-based Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), a human rights organization which promotes, protects and projects the rights of Muslims. This group condemns terrorism and all acts of violence. Its motto is 'Dialogue, Not Violence'
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
‘NO’ TO NJC/NBA ANIMAL FARM AGENDA
19th October, 2016,
‘NO’ TO NJC/NBA ANIMAL
A Tsunami of criticisms has greeted
the raid by Nigerian security agents on some judges’ homes and the subsequent
arrests and investigations. Both the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) 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
judiciary even called for a strike.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
expresses grave concern at the reactions of both the NBA and the NJC. Their
reactions expose them as enemies of the masses. We say ‘NO’ to their Animal
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.
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.
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 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
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
MURIC calls on 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
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, “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).
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)