THE Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Justice Ishaq Usman Bello, has declared that the judiciary in the country is determined to eradicate corruption within its fold, even as he warned judges against giving unrealistic bail conditions, especially in high profile cases.
The Chief Judge made the declaration in Abuja, on Tuesday, on the occasion of the commencement of the 2016/2017 legal year, noting, however, that the eradication should be done within legal limits and procedure.
According to Justice Bello, these were trying times for the judiciary in Nigeria, saying that even in the face of challenges, the judiciary in the FCT was a conglomeration of dedicated judicial minds, full of resources who could best be described as hardworking, honest and impeccable.
“These are indeed trying times for the judiciary of this country. I am bold to say that the judiciary is determined to eradicate corruption within its fold and seeks the support of relevant agencies.
“However, this should be within legal limits and in line with laid down rules and procedure,” the chief judge stated.
He noted that the court in the Territory was ready and willing to provide the needed platform for dealing with competing interests when they clash, to also provide guidance on due process and fundamentally, ensuring the protection of rights and individual freedoms.
He called on judges to at all times in the handling of cases “continue as you have done to give a fair consideration to the viewpoints of all parties for this is the fulcrum of our legal system.”
Commenting on the relationship between the Bar and the Bench in the FCT, Justice Bello noted that there was a genre of relationship existing between the two, which he said, did not occur in any other professions.
Meanwhile, in a bid to decongest prisons in the Territory, the chief judge urged judges to be liberal in granting bail, warning the judges, particularly those handling cases brought before them by anti-corruption agencies like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practice and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), against giving stringent bail conditions.