Lagos — Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Lagos State governor Babatunde Fashola have berated the judicial arm of the government over the state of development across the country, saying the third arm of government has been riddled by corruption.
The leaders, who made their remarks on Tuesday at the 4th Annual National Conference of the Academics for Entrepreneurial Studies, Nigeria (AES), held at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, (NIIA), Lagos, also said Nigerians have lost considerable interest in the judiciary.
According to Obasanjo, "We believe that the judiciary is the last to be affected by corruption. Now, the judiciary has been riddle by corruption and this has affected other sectors of the country.
"If the judiciary becomes corrupt, where is the hope for the nation?"
Justice, according to him, has become the highest bidder takes all. "That is what we have now," he said.
Justice Uwais said, "It is true that Nigeria needs a strong judiciary which started on a strong footing from the colonial masters. But corruption has affected the judicial arm of government and there is need for us to do so".
"When I was the Chief Judge of this country, I worked with the president to remove quiet a number of the judges from office on the recommendation of the Nigerian Judicial Council (NJC). This is because they were found wanting. That was the standard we expect from the NJC. However, unfortunately, judges who were corrupt were allowed to go scot-free", he said.
Also speaking, Governor Fashola of Lagos State said the rot in the Nigerian judiciary was exposed recently with the judgment of the British high court that pronounced the judgment on the former governor of the Delta State, James Ibori who was pronounced not guilty by the Nigerian judiciary.
On the solution to the challenge facing the Nigerian judiciary, Fashola said there is need for an increased federalism in the administration of justice, adding, "this will help a lot to put the judiciary where it belongs." He said that the country has chosen the best form of government, which is democracy.