LEGAL luminary and founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), Chief Afe Babalola, has decried the invasion of the homes of some judges in the country, saying “for this, there is despondency and loss of confidence in the judiciary.”
Afe Babalola, who spoke at the foundation laying ceremony of the new Ekiti State judiciary complex, on Wednesday, said “I’m sad over the attack on the judges. These people are not criminals, but you went to their house in the midnight and released them in the morning. That means they are available. So, why invade their homes?”
According to him, “Nigeria operates a democratic system of government which, anywhere in the world, places emphasis on separation of powers among the three arms of government.
“Each arm is independent of the other and of these, the judiciary enjoys primacy of importance when it comes to the use of autonomy and dependence as judiciary, which is not free from political interference, will bring about the demise of a nation perhaps faster than corruption itself or any other vices.”
He reiterated that “world over, one of the widely accepted means of guaranteeing such independence of judiciary lies in the establishment of a judiciary council.
“The motivating concern for adoption of councils was ensuring independence of judiciary after product of democratic rule. To enrich independence of judiciary, most countries enshrined judicial council in their constitutions and we did so.
“Ordinarily, if these people had facts that people were corrupt, they should approach the judicial council. Give the facts to them, then what will happen is that they will investigate the matter and then do what the law say they should do; that is give the matter to the police.
“How can you, I repeat, how can you arrest a sitting judge and give him to police to go to a magistrate to try him? You never try a sitting judge anywhere in the world. The first thing to do first of all is to remove him. When you arrest a masquerade, you first of all remove the cover on his face before you try him in a law court. That’s the proper thing.”
Speaking on the new judicial complex, he commended Governor Ayodele Fayose for the initiative and charged him to work hard to complete the project before the completion of his tenure.