Okutepa on Integrity of the Judiciary

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For quite some times now there have been concerns that judiciary should not be attacked or criticized on the social media. Some have argued that it is bad to do so. We need to and it is good to protect our judiciary and judicial institution from unnecessary attacks and criticisms.

But I think we should address the root cause of the attacks of the judiciary in the social media.There is no smoke without fire. Judiciary deserves respect. Yes it deserves it. But respect is earned and not forced.

Let the judiciary earn respect for itself by the quality of judgment it delivers. Let the judgments of the judiciary promote democracy not enthroning undemocratic leadership in power.

People are crying for what they perceived to be unjust decisions handed down by the judiciary in many political cases.Rather than cowing the public and people with threats of sanctions and punishments, let those who have the duties to investigate, investigate what make the public cry that justice is being murdered by the judiciary.

That is the best way to assuage the feelings of the people and the general public.The judiciary is meant to serve the people. As it is always said justice is rooted in conference and conference is destroyed when the right thinking man walks aways thinking the judge was bias.

Let us not forget that justice is rooted in confidence as has been said. Can we as a people in clear conscience ignore the cry of the public. I do not think so. Can we in clear conscience say that all is well with some decisions that come out of our courts/Tribunals and that those crying that justice have been murdered are wrong. I also do not think so. Let us collectively protect our judiciary and other institutions by doing what is right and then let the judiciary and it’s decisions be above board.

That is how confidence can be restored to the institution of judiciary and not by coercion or unnecessary grandstanding or pontificating that all is well when indeed it is clear to all that is not well. It is better to admit ailments and find cure for it than to pretend that there exists no ailment.

Nigeria is a funny place where people plead with you not to speak the truth and urge you to stomach wrongs in the interest of rotten institutions. How long do we keep pretending that all is well when all is not well. How long do we continue to accord respect to institutions that have refused to accord themselves the desired respects.

How long do we keep pretending that all is well with the legal profession when some members of the profession both at the Bar and on the bench have polluted and desecrated the stream of justice to the knowledge and awareness of ordinary people on the street.

The remedy to solving all the shenanigans going on is complete overhauling of the justice system of Nigeria to be manned by men and women of strong character who can withstand temptations and deliver justice without fear or favour.

– Jibrin Samuel Okutepa, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, wrote from Abuja.

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