Newly confirmed Chief Judge of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammed on Wednesday admitted that the judicial arm of government headed by him has been infested with corrupt judges.
Justice Muhammed who was confirmed by the senate after a voice vote on Wednesday disclosed this when grilled by Senators for his confirmation as the Chief Justice of Nigeria.
He argued that corruption persists in Nigeria as a result of lack of stiff punishment of offenders, saying that the legislature should intervene with the review of laws.
“I always say that Nigeria judiciary is part and parcel of Nigeria and I am not surprised seeing some judges being corrupt but must be treated same way other corrupt elements are treated.”
Recalling his experiences when he was a magistrate in Bauchi years back, he noted that corruption in the judiciary began when indigenous judges took over adjudication in courts.
“I was a magistrate in Bauchi then, but by the time I finished law school, went to NYSC and came back and then we had a White man as our boss, there was no corruption. Later, when we had a black man we started having problems.”
Tanko urged the legislators to review Nigeria’s criminal law.
“Left for me, there is a need to look at our criminal laws again with a view to dealing with corruption in the society. Some criminals are couching on loopholes in our laws and I want to urge the legislators to amend laws to sanitize the society.
Speaking on the independence of the judiciary, he said, some governors posed a huge challenge to the independence of the state judiciary, adding that the legislature should tie all loopholes that are inherent in the nation’s judiciary.
“Some governors deny monthly allocation to the judiciary while they take care of their political appointees. It is in my view that it’s only the legislature that can put things right in Nigeria.”
The confirmation of the CJN followed a recommendation made by the National Judicial Council (NJC) attached with his curriculum vitae distributed to the lawmakers on Tuesday.