AS controversies continue to trail the recent arrest of some judges in some parts of the country by the Department of State Security (DSS), a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, has challenged senior members of the Bar claiming to know corrupt judges and lawyers to immediately name them.
The senior advocate threw the challenge on Tuesday, in Abuja, while speaking as the representative of the body of Senior Advocates, at the ceremony marking the opening of the 2016/2017 Legal year of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court.
Awomolo noted that the allegation against the judiciary was a severe one, declaring that senior lawyers claiming to know corrupt judicial officers should name them without any further hesitation.
“Those senior advocates who claim in the media to know the bad ones to name names and shame those senior lawyers and junior lawyers and judicial officers who they knew perpetrated endemic corruption and bring Nigerian judiciary to shame.
“My Lord, if there is anybody who knows that Awomolo has collected bribe and given it to any judge, let him name me and I will defend myself,” he declared.
According him, this was the right time for such senior members of the Bar to name those who were corrupt in the judiciary.
He stated that some people did not know the consequence of the allegations they made against others, declaring that, “allegation of corruption is so severe.”
He noted that allegations of corruption against judges were not new in the country, submitting that, “we also know that allegation of corruption against judicial officers has been with us for decades,” and cited instances, including an allegation against a former Chief Judge of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mohammed Uwais, by two senior lawyers, who could not prove their allegation.
Awomolo declared that, “We are not saying there are no corrupt judges or there are no corrupt judicial officers. This is not the time to play to the gallery. There is no need to crucify the Bench and exonerate the Bar from the gory picture of corruption.”
The senior silk submitted that both the Bar and Bench ought to see the current travails as an avenue to cleanse themselves, saying “the Bar and the Bench should see the current media trial as a challenge to have an interface and ponder on how we got to this stage, what was responsible. The Bar and the Bench have been brought so low in the country.”
Awomolo stated that the current time was a trying moment for the judiciary in the country, declaring that it was time for members to humble themselves, confess their sins and turn to God for forgiveness.
“It is a trying moment for the entire Bar and Bench. We all know that calamity has struck. Members of the Bar and Bench are human beings who are mere mortals with faults. This is the time to humble ourselves, confess our sins and turn to God for forgiveness,” the senior advocate submitted.