Mr Kayode Ajayi, a Lagos-based legal practitioner, says categorising all Nigerian judges as corrupt is unfair and not a true assessment of the judges.
Ajayi spoke on Wednesday in Abuja in an interview with newsmen.
He was reacting to the recent report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) in conjunction with the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) which ranked the judiciary as the second most corrupt institution in Nigeria.
He said that the report had placed the judges corruption level at 33 per cent, adding that this was at best, speculative.
“That report was very unfair to the judiciary and particularly to judges. There should have been a clear distinction between the judges and the court officials.
“If someone gives money to a bailiff or a court official, there is no justification in concluding that the money is given to the judges.
“There is no country where you do not find corrupt judges, but they would never say all the judges of that country are corrupt, why does it have to be different with Nigeria?”
On whether it was right for the court officials or the bailiffs to collect more money from litigants than the officially stipulated fee, Ajayi opined that there was nothing wrong in a litigant being generous.
“You cannot call goodwill or generosity corruption. I could come to court very happy on a particular day and decide to share my joy with a court official by giving extra money, how is that corruption?”
He added that some of the official fees stipulated were not in tune with realities on the ground.
“For instance, you see a fee like N500 or even N1,000 but the truth of the matter is that that amount cannot take the bailiff to and fro the destination he is supposed to serve the process.
NAN recalls that the National Judicial Council (NJC) had also reacted to the report saying that it found the conclusions in the report not only subjective but speculative.
“There is no denying the fact that there are few bad eggs in the judiciary, like in every other arm of government.
“At the same time, there are many honest and hardworking judicial officers and magistrates making the judiciary and the country proud.”
The NJC stated that what should agitate the minds of the people were the criteria used by the UNODC and NBS to measure the level of bribe taking in the judiciary to grade it as the second largest receiver of bribes.
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