In a recent interview with ARISE News, on Sunday, president of the Nigerian Bar Association, Yakubu Maikyau (SAN) highlighted the exemplary discipline within Nigeria’s judiciary.
He revealed that many are unaware that the salary of justices of the Supreme Court stands at a sum of ₦ 750,000 with the Chief Justice of Nigeria earning ₦ 450,000 since their last remuneration review in 2007.
Commending the judiciary he stated that it has maintained its discipline despite the challenging situation.
He said; “The judiciary in this country is one of the most disciplined arms of government that you can ever find anywhere. The last time the salaries and allowance of judicial officers would be reviewed in this country was in 2007.
“As I speak to you, many also do not know the justices of the Supreme Court salary is a sum of seven hundred and fifty thousand naira. The Chief Justice of Nigeria before he assumed office, was receiving about that amount of money but soon after he assumed the office of the Chief Justice of the Federal Republic Of Nigeria, because according to the provision of the service, he would move into a residence provided for the Chief Justice of Nigeria, the salary dropped to about four hundred and fifty thousand naira.
“All of these things are totally unacceptable. No country operates the judiciary like that. But in spite of that situation, the judiciary has kept itself within discipline.”
Maikyau then called on those who accuse the judiciary of corruption to provide concrete evidence to support their claims assuring that the legal system would vigorously pursue such cases.
He pointed out that those who refuse to provide evidence of corruption are worse than a judicial officer practicing corruption and that despite the perception of corruption, very few judicial officers in the country have been convicted of corrupt practices.
Highlighting the need for substantiated claims, he said: “when you talk about all eyes on the judiciary, and thatcthe judiciary is corrupt and all of that, all those people who are making the allegations… If you have any evidence against any judicial officer, please let us have it, we would pursue that judicial officer.
“Of all the judicial officers in this country, how many have been convicted of corruption? You go all out there and make generalized statements on how corrupt they are.
“If you have evidence, come and say it. You are even worse than a judicial officer who is practicing corruption, who indulges in corrupt practices when you have the evidence and you refuse to let us know, because you are hurting the system.”
Addressing the issue further, Maikyau stressed that undermining the judiciary has a profound impact on the very foundation that holds the country together. He cautioned against hasty judgments and urged individuals to meticulously investigate any suspicions they may have against judicial officers, stating that Nigeria is at risk of heading towards a state of anarchy and chaos when people make generalized allegations of the judiciary being corrupt without providing evidence to support their claims.
He emphasized that such actions erode the confidence that Nigerians have in the judiciary. He said “You are destroying the fabric of the system that actually holds this country together and when you also make allegations, you are also hurting the very fabric upon which this country is held together because once the people do not accept the judiciary, once public confidence in the judiciary is eroded, then you would not have a country in place. You would only have anarchy, you would only have chaos.
“For people indulging in all of that, please take time, don’t be in a hurry. If you suspect anything, follow it through until you have the evidence against that judicial officer.
“But without such evidence, please don’t destroy this country. The judiciary of the country has done us proud. The judiciary of this country is one that has kept the country together.”