Corruption and its impact on our moral ethos is a topic that generates interest among Nigerians. The scourge has crept into all sectors including the judiciary. Livi Obijiofor once said, “Corruption has blighted the Nigerian judiciary….” The public perception of the Judicial arm of Government today is at its lowest ebb. What is the way out? Mr. Bayo Akinlade, the National Convener of the Fight Against Corruption in the Judiciary is one man that has decided to confront the ugly trend in the Judiciary.
Read his perspective on corruption in this write up he titled “My Corruption, My Story”
I realized something that I had forgotten before. Why did I come back to Nigeria 9 years ago? Why does the corruption in the judiciary disgust me so? It came rushing back. Seeing the many victims of corruption, seeing tears in the eyes of litigants when registrars, prosecutors, judges and lawyers took all they had from them and they still could not get justice. When I see lawyers bow their heads in despair as their clients give large sums to court officials while they are told to wait for their own paltry pay; when I see lawyers walk the streets while the sheriffs, registrars and other court officials drive cars to the homes they built with money extorted from lawyers and litigants.
I have been laughed at, mocked and ridiculed by unprofessional and less educated court officials who will boldly tell me that I can’t get a service in court without parting with some money.
I still recall my first experience. It was sometime in 2010. The first case I handled after relocating to Nigeria. I was briefed by a family member to get me going. I was in the Sheriff’s Department, Ikeja High Court where a sheriff of court treated me like crap. I had gone to inquire about serving my process and he showed me my process and told me bluntly that I must pay him before he goes to serve the process and I must pay him before I collect the proof of service. Nothing I said moved him. I tried to see the person in charge but I was given the run around.
The final blow was when a senior lawyer that I knew in my earlier days an Assistant Secretary of NBA LAGOS Branch told me that I had no choice but to give them or my case will suffer. A SENIOR LAWYER TOLD ME THAT? HE COULD NOT EVEN STAND WITH ME OR SUPPORT ME!
Lawyers and litigants suffer because they have no choice? NO NO NO! I HAVE A CHOICE, I AM A LAWYER and a MINISTER IN THE TEMPLE OF JUSTICE, AN ADVOCATE, THIS JUDICIARY IS MY TERRITORY, MY WORK SPACE, AN EXTENTION OF MY OFFICE, the Registrars are there to serve me as my Secretary or my Clerk. They cannot dictate for me.
I began to find my feet, I told my clients, “I don’t do bribes, your case may take time so, if you want it fast go get another lawyer” and most of them did. I busted my butt for the less privileged because the rich didn’t want someone who could not do the ‘NEEDFUL’.
9 YEARS BACK IN NIGERIA I don’t even have a ‘tokunboh’ car BUT I HAVE WHAT MONEY CANNOT BUY, WHAT NO MAN CAN TAKE AWAY FROM ME.
I will not sell my children’s future for the illusion of getting them all they need now and some extra for the future. What about the future of other children whose parents are not fortunate
THE MORE CORRUPTION THRIVES THE MORE WE LOOSE OUR SOUL AND OUR FUTURE
I am BAYO AKINLADE ESQ, NATIONAL CONVENER OF FIACIJ
#IstandagainstcorruptionINtheJUDICIARY. WHERE DO YOU STAND?