The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, has called on Senior Advocates of Nigeria and other judicial officers to discipline their stomachs and stop aiding politicians to promote the culture of impunity in the country.
He stated this at the 2017 Annual Dinner and Honours Night of the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Abuja chapter, held in the Federal Capital Territory on Saturday.
“We must discipline ourselves and discipline our stomachs,” Onnoghen said and called on them to reciprocate the respect bestowed upon them by the judiciary by helping to make the work of the courts easy.
He said, “We should try our very best to leave the trouble waters of impunity because if you look inward, you will know that we are part and parcel of it. The legal profession is part of the culture of impunity.
“We represent politicians who come in with all sorts of jokers in the name of brief and we help them heat up the polity, heat up the judiciary and cast aspersions on judicial officers. We say all sorts of things on the pages of newspapers and television.”
The CJN further criticized lawyers who file frivolous suits and motions saying, “How much do you think a client will pay you that will worth you lowering your standard to the extent that you are not an appellant but you are prevailed upon to file a motion or file a notice of withdrawal of a case you never filed.
“You didn’t file yet you are briefed to file a motion to withdraw that appeal; a respondent withdrawing appeal filed by an appellant. And you are a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.”
Onnoghen’s statement is coming at a period the judiciary has been accused of aiding corruption, even as a number of judges have been arraigned for alleged graft.
Last year, the Department of State Security (DSS) raided the homes of eight judges and arrested several of them in the wee hours of the night over corruption allegations.
However, Onnoghen addressing the Senior Advocates asked them to always put the interest of the legal profession above parochial and personal interests, stressing that no amount of money from a client is worth bringing disrepute to the practitioners and the profession.
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