April 20, 2024 5:03 am
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Odinkalu Blasts Judiciary’s Vast Trust Deficit as He Reacts to CJN’s Phone Call Rebuttal

The former Chairman of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission, Chidi Odinkalu, has said the public has lost its trust in the judicial system.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today, Odinkalu emphasized the need for the apex court and judges to address the growing trust deficit by implementing countermeasures.

“The judicial system reflects a trust deficit that has been long in the making and it is not one thing or an event, it is a build-up,” he said. “The cumulative effect of all of this is that people no longer trust judges.”

Odinkalu dismissed the idea that the recent criticism aimed at the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and other judges was mudslinging. Instead, he attributed the credibility crisis to party political cases and election petitions.

“There is a problem with judicial credibility and this credibility crisis arises almost always in party political cases and election petitions. It goes back to the 1979 elections. Since we have been in the election system, judges have been increasingly playing a role in adjudicating election disputes. Up to 2003, I think it was tolerable. After 2003, we went into a new territory in which judges started deciding who won and lost elections, started adding and subtracting numbers, and with that, the levels of money being thrown at judges in order to buy decisions began to change,”

To address the issue, Odinkalu stressed that the CJN should avoid nepotism and refrain from appointing his own son as a judge of a Federal High Court.

“The Chief Justice should not be appointing his son the judge of a Federal High Court, no matter how good his son is,” he said. “There is nothing hereditary about judging and the senior judges should stop doing insider trading with judicial appointments. As a country we have to say enough is enough the buying of the judiciary is why these forms of allegations are being traded.”

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