In a letter addressed to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayoode Ariwoola, the convener of Access to Justice (A2J), Joseph Otteh, has raised serious concerns about alleged financial inducement influencing judges handling election petition cases in Nigeria.
According to the findings of an investigation, Mr. Otteh revealed that a staggering sum of approximately N9 billion had been offered to judges, most of whom were involved in handling election petitions, over a span of three years. The money was reportedly linked to various cycles and electoral adjudications within the country.
Expressing alarm over the situation, the group pointed out that the judiciary had failed to take decisive steps to bolster the ethical framework for resolving electoral disputes. The lack of effective measures to curb corruption in the electoral dispute adjudication process has cast a shadow of doubt on the judiciary’s impartiality.
Mr. Otteh’s letter referred to the National Judicial Council’s (NJC) disciplinary records and those of anti-corruption agencies, which apparently showed a disturbingly high incidence of corruption associated with the handling of electoral disputes. Shockingly, over 15 judges and justices have been arrested, investigated, convicted, or sanctioned for misconduct related to election determinations.
These instances of corruption have brought immense embarrassment to the judiciary, undermining public trust in the institution that should stand as the last bastion of justice.
The revelations have ignited widespread concern among citizens and stakeholders, who demand immediate action to restore the integrity of the electoral justice delivery process. As the Chief Justice of Nigeria receives this critical communication from A2J, the nation awaits a response and anticipates decisive measures to address the deeply troubling issue of financial inducement impacting the judiciary’s handling of election petition cases.
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