A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and former Director-General of the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) Professor Epiphany Azinge has suggested how corruption could be tamed in the judicial sector.
Azinge, who spoke in Abuja while unveiling activities to mark the 42nd reunion and anniversary of the Class of 1980 of the Nigeria Law School (NLS), said corruption would be eliminated where judges are adequately remunerated and the condition of service improved upon.
The ex-NIALS boss urged the Federal Government to adopt the recent judgment on increase judges salaries as a benchmark to improve on their condition of service.
He said: “The judgement is to give Salaries and Wages Commission the tone for further engagement and negotiation.
“So, it may not end up being N10million per month as salary for the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN). It may come down to an extent, but again, the important thing is that the judicial pronouncement has tone for further negotiations and further engagement.
“But, let it be on record that the Judiciary deserves the best, because you cannot be accusing judges of corruption and at the end of the day you are still starving them of funds.
“If you are accusing them of corruption, free them, give them what they are entitled to. And then, allow them to express themselves, then you will see that all things about corruption on the bench will go away. Make them comfortable,” Azinge said.
He said the week-long activities, which began on July 17 with prayers, will feature, among others, a lecture on and launch of a N5million endowment fund at the NLS on July 19 and will end on July 22 with a gala dinner scheduled for the National Judicial Institute (NJI).
Azinge, who is part of the six-member anniversary planning committee, said some of the activities would be attended by the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, among other eminent personalities.
He identified some notable members of the NLS Class of 1980 to include the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (AGF), Boss Mustapha and the President of the Court of Appeal (PCA), Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem.
Azinge expressed concern about the quality of lawyers being produced today, but noted that there was the for more well trained lawyers in the country to meet the need of the about 200million population.