AFRICA/NIGERIA - Cardinal Onaiyekan: Corrupt judges arrested: "We need a clear and transparent trial to dispel fears of anti-democratic maneuvers"

Tuesday, 11 October 2016 corruption  

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - "This case is a very clear demonstration of the confused situation our Country is experiencing" says to Agenzia Fides Cardinal John Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja, commenting on the arrest on charges of corruption of 7 senior judges (later released on bail) by the Department of State Security Service (DSS), the Federal security service of Nigeria. DSS claims to have placed under investigation 15 judges and have confiscated $
800,000 (715,000 EUR) in the course of raids in the homes of the suspects.
"The state of confusion – explains the Cardinal to Fides - stems from the fact that on one hand we have rampant corruption, including the judiciary; on the other hand these arrests have sparked a heated debate on what the Constitution says as regards to the implementation status of judges accused". "Among the judges under investigation some are part of the Supreme Court. The crisis is therefore very serious", says the Cardinal.
The National Council of the Judiciary and other human rights lawyers have criticized the investigation claiming to fear that it is part of a maneuver to intimidate the judiciary on behalf of the executive.
"One knows, those who have money can get a favorable ruling. In my opinion it is high time that corrupt judges are expelled from the judiciary, after a clear and transparent trial", said Cardinal Onaiyekan. "There are few corrupt judges and should be prosecuted, so that others can continue to do their job".
President Muhammadu Buhari launched a broad anti-corruption campaign which was also welcomed by the Episcopal Conference. According to the Cardinal, "the problem is that the government and the agencies that were dedicated to the fight against corruption lead to actions that do not seem to respect the rule of law. For the Nigerian law, an accused is innocent until his guilt is proven in court".
"It is necessary to follow the legal procedures and quickly bring the accused to trial. We have to avoid the Nigerian nation further suffering", concluded the Cardinal. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 11/10/2016)