Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), has faulted the call for the embattled judges to be suspended pending the determination of their corruption charges warning that such would lead to the total collapse of the judicial arm.
Chief Olanipekun was reacting to the request by the NBA that the National Judicial Council (NJC) should place the five federal and supreme Court judges arrested by the Department of State Security (DSS) on leave pending the time the issue would be resolved. Chief Olanipekun who stated that he fully supports the NBA’s view that the bench should be rid of corruption, warned against doing so in a manner that would demean and undermine the integrity of the judiciary.
The senior lawyer was speaking during the conferment of the title of Asiwaju of Ikere land on him in Ikere Ekiti at the weekend. Olanipekun called for any president and governor accused of corruption to also step down so that the policy would be seen to have been implemented across board
“I support the idea that the judiciary must be rid of corruption, but I disagree with the NBA on this issue that judges accused of corruption should stop handling cases. This quickly suggests that politicians and petition writers will use the opportunity to continue to level allegations against judges and a time will come that there won’t be any judge on the bench to handle cases.
“If that will be the case, it has to cut across board, let any president, governor or political office holder accused of corruption also be asked to resign, for fairness, equity and justice.
“Some are saying that these Judges should be dealt with like every other common Nigerian; the fact remains that they are not ordinary Nigerians. President Muhamadu Buhari heads the executive, Bukola Saraki leads the Senate, Yakubu Dogara leads the House of Representatives and likewise governors of the states, these are not ordinary Nigerians, just like these Judges, they head the judiciary.
“Even if the judges are ordinary Nigerians, they must enjoy rights to dignity and self respect as enshrined in the constitution. So, the NBA should not oversimplify the issue. If you say a Judge has been accused of corruption and should leave the bench, it is very dangerous to the judiciary.
“There are so many things to think of here, what of if the judges are not found guilty eventually and they are given a clean bill, it means we have prejudged them.
“I want to say with respect to the NBA president that I disagree with this stand and this is my humble opinion. But I support that corruption must not be allowed in the judiciary, because that arm is very crucial to our survival as a nation”, he said.
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