Prof. Yemi Akinseye-George , a Senior Advocate of Nigeria(SAN) and the President of the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, has revealed that the Nigerian justice system has been stagnant for over a decade as the President, Muhammadu Buhari led government has been using the same laws used by the former administration to fight corruption.
According to Professor Yemi, the Code of Conduct Bureau was being deliberately underfunded by the government as Nigerian judges have been on the same salary for the past 13 years, and the Administration of Criminal Justice Act used in fighting corruption, was signed by former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015.
Professor Yemi Akinseye-George, speaking at a webinar organised by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) with the theme, “No escape for the corrupt: Lifting the lid on assets declarations in Nigeria,” said, “The political elite are not very keen about fighting corruption. The problem that the CCB has is the same problem that the judiciary has. Judges have been on the same salaries for 13 years; no decent retirement benefits; after working and retiring at 65 years, judges still have to look for rented accommodation. I think it is a shame.
“We expected that when this administration came on board, we were talking about change. The only law now that government is using to be able to fight corruption in the courts, the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, was passed in 2015, signed by the former President. The necessary legislative intervention, constitutional amendments, structural adjustments that are required to give teeth to the anti-corruption fight have not been made. The government is using old tools to fight the battle, yet this government claims their priority is anti-corruption.”
He added, “It is sad that despite rising inflation, declining value of the naira and increasing workload of judges, their salaries have remained frozen for 13 years. This is absolutely unacceptable. The Centre for Socio-Legal Studies shall soon institute a legal action in the court to seek mandamus compelling a raise in the salaries and allowances of judges.”