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CJN threatens to sack court clerks over leakage of judgments
Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloma Mukhtar

Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloma Mukhtar

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mariam Mukhtar, has vowed to disgrace out of office any judicial officer found culpable in the leakage of court judgments before they were delivered, describing such action as bad and reprehensible.

Flagging off a national workshop for Secretaries, Court Registrars, Process Clerks and Bailiffs at the National Judicial Institute, NJI, in Abuja yesterday, the CJN, in her keynote address, said it was regrettable that some of them had gone ahead to “solicit for and collect millions of naira from unscrupulous litigants on the pretext that they are acting for the judicial officers handling their cases.

“This year’s workshop is particularly very interesting because the theme, Revisiting the Code of Conduct for the Staff of the Judiciary, underscores and encapsulates the glaring need for a paradigm shift in the conduct of some of the judicial staff.

“This shift has become necessary because the emergence of critical media coverage of judicial proceedings has increased awareness and public scrutiny of the judicial process.
“Now more than ever, the public has become more critical of the conduct of judicial staff, perhaps buoyed by public outcry against some unwholesome conducts of the judicial staff like leakage of judgments before delivery.

“Others are demanding bribes before the preparation of records of appeal, acting as go-between for some overzealous litigants and some corrupt judicial officers, ostentatious live styles beyond legitimate earnings and a host of other activities.

…credibility, integrity
“These corrupt activities of some judicial staff have raised serious issues as to the credibility and integrity of the persons who are employed to assist the judicial officers in the performance of their duties.

“Some of the corrupt ones amongst you have gone ahead to solicit for and collect millions of naira from unscrupulous litigants on the pretext that they are acting for the judicial officers handling their cases.

“This is bad and reprehensible. Many Judges and Magistrates have been violently attacked by hoodlums on the mistaken belief that they did not perform even after money has been given to them through their staff.

“Many have been caught and disciplined, but so many have so far escaped detection. However, I must state that as we say in Nigeria, ‘that the lake is quiet does not mean that all is well with it’.

“That all the bad eggs have not been fished and flushed out does not mean that what they are doing should be copied by the good ones. Evil remains evil whether punished or not, though lack of punishment may encourage others to do same.

“I, therefore, warn you not to involve yourselves in any misconduct no matter how minimal. If you indulge in any misconduct and you are caught or reasonably suspected to have done so, you will not only be disgraced out of the judiciary but will also be made to face the legal consequences of your ignoble and nefarious actions.”

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