The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has asked judges arrested by the Department of State Services (DSS) over allegation of corruption to suspend sitting and proceed on compulsory suspension.
NBA President Abubakar Mahmud (SAN), who made the request in Abuja yesterday, urged the judges to recuse themselves from all judicial activities until their innocence is proven.
He said the accusation between the affected judicial officers and some politicians and institutions, following the arrests, has made it imperative for the National Judicial Council (NJC) to salvage the image of the Judiciary.
Mahmud spoke at a valedictory court session for the retiring Justice Sotonye Denton-West of the Court of Appeal. He called for urgent intervention of the NBA to revive the dwindling reputation of the Judiciary.
Mahmud said: “In the interim, however, particularly having regards to what appears to ongoing accusations and counter accusations between some of the judges and other personalities or agencies, it appears to the NBA that it is extremely important that the NJC takes very urgent steps to safeguard the public image and sanctity of the courts.
“We therefore strongly recommend that, without prejudice to the innocence or otherwise of the Judges involved in the ongoing investigations, they should be required to recuse themselves from further judicial functions or required to proceed on compulsory leave until their innocence is fully and completely established or until the conclusion of all judicial or disciplinary proceedings.
“We believe this will be necessary in order to protect the sanctity and integrity of judicial processes that may involve the judges concerned and safeguard the public image of the institution,” Mahmud said.
Justice Denton-West, the former Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Akure Division, agreed with the Chairman, NBA, Ondo State, Adetunji Oso, that the Judiciary