The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, said on Wednesday in Abuja that over 64 judges had been disciplined by the National Judicial Council (NJC) between 2009 and 2014.
Mohammed made the disclosure at a seminar, organised by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
Theme of the seminar is: “The Fight against Corruption in Nigeria: The Way Forward.’’
The chief justice who was represented by Justice John Fabiyi said that the judges punished, were out of the 1,020 judges currently serving in the Superior Courts.
“Allegations about corrupt judicial officers and members of staff now make headline news on a more frequent basis.
“Under my tenure as the chairman of the NJC, we have not shirked this responsibility; indeed, we are facing it head on.
“It is, however, sad to note that the public officials and persons who benefit from corrupting judicial officers are never investigated, apprehended or even prosecuted.
“The basic question is, how we can stop corruption when the scale is seemingly tilted in favour of the beneficiaries?’’
He said that the leadership of the judiciary was taking steps to enact new guidelines that would see a more transparent recruitment process.
“This will ensure that only persons that are intellectually sound with integrity are appointed as judicial officers.
“It is important to highlight that the bench is a product of the bar and unless we work in synergy it will be impossible to expect a different bench when its origin remains the same.’’
He advised the leadership of the NBA to expunge from its ranks, such people whose conducts might be unfit, improper, dishonest or otherwise unethical.
“The time has surely come for us all to take concrete, meaningful and lasting action to exorcize the pernicious ghost of corruption from the most noble of professions.
“The theme of this event reflects the fact that we must tread the path of decisiveness in the fight against corruption.
“The event also offers us all the chance to devise means that will restore integrity and probity to our profession while upholding our judiciary’s reputation, respect and dignity.’’
He appealed to participants to take part in the event with a view to taking an active part in the deliberations as the fight against corruption in the country was a critical issue.
Mahmud expressed confidence that with all hands on deck, there would be a positive change in the fight against corruption in Nigeria.
“If we strive in tandem, the efforts that we make in our small but critical section of the society will create a domino effect of positive change that is so sorely required in the nation.
“I am also optimistic that success depends on us working together towards developing intelligent initiatives, which will result in tangible and pragmatic solutions to ending corruption.’’