The Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Walter Onnoghen, has disclosed how some desperate lawyers forged court judgments to get the prestigious rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria, revealing that the forged judgment were part of the requisite conditions submitted to the Legal Practitioners and Privileges Committee for scrutiny.
Although the CJN did not revealed the identity of lawyers involved in the act, he however said the matter has been reported to the police for prosecution.
Speaking on Monday at the opening of the 2018/2019 legal year of the Supreme Court and inauguration of new Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SANs, in Abuja, Onnoghen said that the offending lawyers had been reported to the police and were currently under investigation and will be prosecuted if found culpable.
“I have to point out the fact that in the just concluded exercise, some applicants were found to have engaged in dishonourable conduct such as forgery of judgment, resulting in their being reported to the police for investigation and possible prosecution. We have to know that if one is not for any reason qualified to wear silk as a judicial officer, he cannot wear it as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
“I would like at this point to thank the distinguished members of the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee tasked with this assignment of scrutinising over 4,000 judgments, trial proceedings and publications, and at the same time conduct disciplinary proceedings on petitions received against Senior Advocates of Nigeria,” he said.
Speaking on the state of the polity, the CJN warned that those in power must not lose sight of the indispensable role of the judiciary in the fight against corruption, adding that the fight against corruption is not the responsibility of any particular arm of government but that of every citizen of Nigeria.
He pointed out that corruption or any other form of injustice thrives in a culture of impunity, adding that to carry out a successful campaign against corruption, “we have to fight with the culture of impunity which is an attitudinal phenomenon. If we allow and respect the rule of law, then there will be a drastic reduction in corruption and injustice”.
“As a democracy, occasion is guided by the rule of law where the constitution is the grand norm. And let me quickly add that there is no ambiguity as regards the role of the judiciary in our constitution,” he said.