June 12, 2020
5 Critical Insights and Beliefs Necessary for Growth, Sustainability in Legal Career and Business
June 17, 2020
June 12, 2020
5 Critical Insights and Beliefs Necessary for Growth, Sustainability in Legal Career and Business
June 17, 2020
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Ani Comfort Chinyere (Mrs.)

LL.B (Hons.) BL; LL.M., Ph. D

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Corruption has been ubiquitous in complex societies from Ancient Egypt, Israel, Rome, and Greece down to the present civilizations[1]. The World Bank has identified corruption as the single greatest obstacle to economic and social development.[2] It undermines development by distorting the rule of law and weakening the institutional foundation on which economic growth depends.[3]


For many years, corruption has been a cankerworm that has eaten deep into every fabric of the Nigerian nation, pervading both the public and the private sectors. The categories of corruption are diverse and widespread and can be perceived in all areas of human endeavour. Due to the encompassing nature of corruption, and the realisation of the fact that corruption has devastating effect on the economic and social development of people and undermines accountability and transparency in the management of public affairs, the United Nations[4] and the African Union[5], both of which Nigeria belong, have come out with strong measures to fight the scourge of corruption.


The offence of corruption, by its nature, is an offence of low reportability.[6] This is due to the fact that both the offender and the victim are criminally responsible for the crime, unless the victim reports the offence without complying or complies in concert with law enforcement officials for the sole aim of arresting and prosecuting the offender. Whichever way it goes, neither the police nor the Attorney-General can initiate a proceeding in court except there is a complainant with legally admissible evidence.[7] This is partly responsible for the dearth of cases on corruption.[8]


Past Governments in Nigeria have tried to fight the ugly trend, but not much was achieved, mainly because the leaderships themselves were equally corrupt, or more corrupt, so they lacked the moral and political will to fight corruption.[9] Former President Obasanjo established the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, (ICPC)[10] and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC).[11] These agencies have, for the first time in the history of Nigeria, arrested and arraigned top shots both in the Executive, Legislative and Judicial arms of government. This is an improvement on the past position, and is reflective of the on going anti-corruption drive.

Nevertheless, corruption still thrives in all aspects of our national life. Corruption has been identified as one of the main problems confronting the criminal justice administration in Nigeria. All the participants in the administration of criminal justice, namely: the police, the judiciary, legal practitioners and the prisons, are practically all involved in corruption in diverse measures.[12]


The legal profession is involved in one capacity or the other at all the stages in the criminal justice administration, right from the moment of arrest to the end of the trial and appeal, where applicable. Lawyers in private practice take charge of the case of the suspect before the trial. They see to the issue of bail at the police station or the court, and go on to argue the suspect’s case, when the case is eventually charged to court. The prosecutors of the cases are often lawyers, either in the service of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions as State Counsel or attached to the police.[13] The judges and the magistrates, who hear and decide the cases before the superior and lower courts, are also members of the legal profession. It can, therefore, be safely asserted that the onus is on the legal profession to ensure that administration of justice generally, and the criminal justice in particular, is devoid of corruption.


A lawyer, as an officer in the temple of justice should be seen as someone who should abhor any form of illegality.  Akinkugbe, captured the essence of a lawyer in the following words:

The lawyer has a vital and indispensable role in the society, for when passions are inflamed, when the individual is lost in the mass, when the majority overrides the minority, the only defender and conservator of basic human rights in society is the lawyer. To his clients he is a combination of an oracle and a comforting shoulder to weep on.[14].

In reality today, some lawyers have been associated with unwholesome behaviour. Some of the lawyers that are supposed to uphold the law as role models for others to emulate have themselves been immersed in crimes like corruption. This situation has prompted Professor Adeyemi to observe as follows:

What do we see today in the Legal Profession? We see instances of legal practitioners misleading the courts, being discourteous and, sometimes disrespectful to judicial officers and vice-versa, embezzling their clients’ monies, converting their clients’ properties, being dishonest and dishonourable to their fellow legal practitioners. In fact, some legal practitioners have become agents for the corruption of administration of justice, by colluding with clients, the courts, police personnel and fellow legal practitioners to engage in the use of gratification in the administration of justice. The situation is so bad today in some places that the gratification has become an accepted part of legal practice by many young and some old practitioners and their clients.[15] 


The National Judicial Council (NJC) dismissed some judges on allegations bothering on impropriety and corruption.16a The Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, (ICPC), investigated a lot of allegations on cases of bribery and corruption involving some judges. Former President Obasanjo took a swipe at the judiciary when he said that even the judiciary that should be the last hope of the common man has become corrupted to some extent.[16]


Ayua is of the opinion that despite allegations of corruption, it cannot be said the corruption has led to the deterioration of the judicial institution in the country.[17] The problem with corruption within the judiciary is that if some drastic measures are not taken to stamp it out, even on the basis of the few known cases, chances are that the ignoble act might escalate to an uncontrollable degree.


As a result of corruption in the administration of justice, the following problems are visited upon the system: Inefficiency of the system, increase in the cost of administration of justice, lack of equity in administration of justice, weakening of the integrity of the system, and weakening of public confidence in the system.[18]


In the light of the foregoing, this article considers the role the legal profession plays in either igniting corruption or curbing it in criminal justice administration. It considers the ethics of the legal profession and the role it ought to play in limiting corruption. The dimensions of corruption in relation to criminal justice administration are considered from the standpoint of the legal profession. This discourse examines the past and present legal framework against corruption, and the machineries set up to fight corruption as it affects the legal profession and the administration of criminal justice.  The various machineries put in place to check corruption by members of the legal profession in both the public and private service are scrutinized.  For the purposes of our discussion, which centres on the issue of administration of criminal justice, lawyers are classified into the following categories:

  1. Members of the judiciary: These are the judicial officers, and they include judges and magistrates, from the lowest grade of magistrate up to the judges of the Supreme Court.
  2. Prosecutors: This group includes lawyers enlisted to work with police, who prosecute cases on behalf of the police; the Attorney-General and officers in his Department
  3. Lawyers in Private Practice: These basically function as defence lawyers in criminal trials. These are the lawyers engaged as counsel for suspects or accused persons, before or during the trial.

This article considers the activities of these classes of lawyers against the backdrop of corruption in criminal justice administration.


  1. Definition of Terms and Clarification of Concepts.
  2. Criminal Justice: The term Criminal Justice connotes the machinery, procedures, personnel and processes, which have to do with the operation/administration of the criminal law. In a broad sense, it covers the arrest, trial, conviction and disposition of offenders.[19]


  1. Administration: The Black’s Law Dictionary defines administration as management or conduct of an office or employment. In public law, the administration of government means the practical management and direction of the operations of the various organs or agencies.

In essence, therefore, criminal justice administration involves the activities that are carried out in planning, managing, organizing and dispensing criminal justice by the institutions saddled with the responsibilities, i.e. the police, lawyers, judiciary and prison officials.


  1. Legal Profession: According to Professor D. A. Ijalaye, the legal profession is the portmanteau phrase encasing two vocations or callings – i.e., the Bench and the Bar.[20] The Legal Profession is made up of lawyers. A lawyer is a professional who may be referred to as Counsel, Advocate, Legal Practitioner,[21] Attorney, Barrister, Solicitor, etc.[22]

A lawyer can operate in various capacities. He may be an academic lawyer or a judge; he may be a legal practitioner practicing the law individually or as a member of a law firm; he may be in the government service, for instance in the Ministry of Justice or attached to any other Ministry, or in a public or Private Corporation, or any other salaried position.[23]


  1. Corruption: It is acknowledged that there is no universal definition of corruption and that the quest for definitions rarely produces unanimity among writers.[24] The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary[25] defines corruption as dishonest or illegal behaviour, especially of people in authority. The definition of the offences in the Criminal Code[26] revolves around the word corruptly, without defining what amounts to corruptly.[27] Earlier in the case of Biobaku v. Police,28a Bairamian J. gave the meaning of corruptly and the intention of the provision of section 98 of the Criminal Code as improperly and the receiving or offering of some benefit, reward or inducement to sway or deflect a person employed in the public service from the honest and impartial discharge of his duties in other words, as a bribe for corruption or its price.
  2. A. Adeyemi further expanded the definition of corruptly by Bairamian J, to cover situations of giving, offering or receiving gratification or bribe, or some other form of benefit, like sexual favours, admissions into clubs and societies and conferment of chieftaincy titles, etc.[28]

Oniga Otite, defines corruption as the perversion of integrity or state of affairs through bribery, favour, or moral depravity.[29]


The World Bank defines corruption as:

The abuse of public office for private gains. Public office is abused for private gain when an official accepts, solicits, or extorts a bribe. It is also abused when private agents actively offer bribes to circumvent public policies and processes for competitive advantage and profit. Public office can also be abused for personal benefit even if no bribery occurs, through patronage and nepotism, the theft of state assets or the diversion of state revenues.[30]


According to Yusuf Bala Usman, corruption means much more than public officers taking bribes and gratification, committing fraud and stealing funds and assets entrusted to their care. It includes also the deliberate violations, for gainful ends, of standards of conduct legally, professionally, or even, ethically established in private and public affairs.[31]  Section 2 of the Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Act, 2000[32] (CPROA), states that corruption includes bribery, fraud, influence peddling and other related offences. The offences established by the Act include:[33]

  1. Offence of accepting gratification.
  2. Offence of giving or accepting gratification through an agent.
  3. Acceptor or giver of gratification to be guilty notwithstanding that that purpose was not carried out or matter not in relation to principal’s affairs or business.
  4. Fraudulent acquisition of property.
  5. Offences committed through postal system.
  6. Deliberate frustration of investigation by the Commission.
  7. Making false statement in return.
  8. Gratification by and through Agents.
  9. Bribery of Public Officer.
  10. Using office or position for gratification.
  11. Bribery in relation to auctions.
  12. Bribery by giving assistance etc, with regards to contracts.


Taiwo Osipitan and Oyelowo Oyewo have condemned the trend in the attempts at defining corruption, that restrict the term to bilateral corruption, i.e. bribery, thereby excluding unilateral corruption by public officers, who utilize insider knowledge to award contracts to themselves or to companies owned or controlled by them.[34] It is incisive to note that even the CPROA still did not accommodate situations of unilateral corruption.  Taiwo Osipitan has enumerated the various types of corruption. According to him, there is collusive corruption, where there is the planned cooperation of the giver and taker; extortionary corruption, where there is forced extraction of bribes or other favours from vulnerable victims by those in authority, and anticipatory corruption, which takes the form of bribes or presentation of gifts in anticipation of favourable action on the part of the recipient of the gift.[35]

Whatever definition is given to the term corruption, one thing that stands out clearly is the evil nature of corruption and all who indulge in it know that it is evil.[36]


III. The Scope of Corruption within the Legal Profession

  1. Judicial Officers

A corrupt judge is more harmful to the society than a man who runs amok with a dagger in a crowded street. While the man with dagger can be restrained physically, a corrupt judge deliberately destroys the foundation of society.[37]  

This statement by a renowned jurist illustrates the gravity of the danger posed to the society by corruption within the judiciary.


The Constitution[38] established the judiciary as the third arm of government, and charges it with the responsibility of adjudicating disputes between persons, or between government or authority and any person in Nigeria.[39] The courts are mainly presided over by judicial officers who are lawyers.


The Constitution[40] defines a judicial office to mean the office of Chief Justice of Nigeria or a Justice of the Supreme Court, the President or Justice of the Court of Appeal, the office of the Chief Judge or a Judge of the Federal High Court, the office of the Chief Judge or Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, the office of the Chief Judge of a State and Judge of a High Court of a State, a Grand Kadi or Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, a President or Judge of the Customary Court of Appeal of a State, or President or a Judge of the Customary Court of Appeal of a State. It also adds that a reference to a judicial officer is a reference to the holder of any such office.


The Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers defines the term judicial officer to include the officers mentioned above in section 318 of the Constitution and also includes the holder of any similar office in any inferior court whatsoever.[41]

The definition of a judicial officer in section 318 of the Constitution does not refer to such other persons engaged in any judicial act or inquiry or the holder of any similar office in an inferior court. An inferior court for the purposes of the Code includes Magistrates, District Court Judges, Customary Court Judges and Area Court Judges of all categories.[42] The Area Court and Customary Court judges are also judicial officers though they are usually laymen.


For the purposes of our discussion, our focus is strictly on judicial officers who are members of the Legal Profession. Hence, it is not within the ambit of this article to discuss the activities of such lay judicial officers. The administrative or supporting staff of the judiciary, for instance, the court registrars and court clerks are also involved in corrupt activities in the criminal justice administration. All these officers including the judicial officers, fall under the definition of public officer for the purposes of the CPROA[43]. Section 2 (f) of the Act[44] defines a public officer to include a person employed in any capacity in the public service of the Federation, State, or Local Government, Public Corporation etc, and includes judicial officers serving in Magistrate, Area or Customary Courts or Tribunals.[45] It is surprising that the Act failed to include judicial officers serving in the Higher Courts. This is likely an error by the drafters of the Act, considering that the Constitution included the Higher Courts in its definition of public service.


We do not intend to dwell on the activities of other staff of the judiciary working under judicial officers who are not qualified legal practitioners. However, their activities viz-a-viz the issue of corruption in the legal profession cannot be glossed over. Court clerks act as agents, for the purposes of collecting bribes for the judicial officer they are attached to. The supporting officers in the judiciary, almost always expect gratification for performing very simple official duties. They unashamedly ask for money for lunch for something as little as appending a stamp or signature on a document. Where one needs something like copy of a ruling or judgment, the person might experience some delays, unless he or she promises gratification or has already given it. The court registry staff are often accused of holding lawyers to ransom.[46]


Our criminal justice system is accusatory in nature, and this requires judges and magistrates to act only as umpires. They do not participate in the process of investigation. As such, judges and magistrates cannot engage in extensive cross-examination of the accused[47]. The Evidence Act[48] greatly restricts the power of the courts to question the accused person, or other witnesses. Judges are enjoined not to descend into the arena, so that the dust of the arena may not blur their view. These provisions are there to make the judges as dispassionate as possible from the cases before them. It also ensures that judicial officers act in a manner that distances them from any act that gives an inkling of corruption or abuse of office.

Despite these safeguards, the judiciary has not been exempted from corrupt practices and allegations of corruption, which has usually been denied. Corruption in the judiciary, reached its peak during the past military regimes. This prompted Hon. Justice Okay Achike to comment:

The last military regime (Babangida’s regime) is the most corrupt in the country. The judiciary has not been exempted from this moral decadence. The position of the members of the lower bench has been scandalous[49]


There have been serious allegations of corruption against the judiciary, especially the lower courts and the High Courts. Commenting on the problem of corruption in the judiciary, A. A. Adeyemi condemned the increasing rate of judicial corruption, which has become a widely known phenomenon. He noted that High Court judges and judges of the higher courts operate high levels of corruption, taking large sums of money, land etc., as bribes in relation to cases being heard or to be heard by them[50].  He went on to say that it would be very sad and humiliating for judicial officers to be arrested, arraigned, tried, convicted and sentenced to terms of imprisonment for corruption and predicted that unless they put an end to corruption, such a situation would occur on an increasing scale[51]. An observer of recent events in the judiciary will note that A. A. Adeyemi’s prediction over a decade ago has come to pass. This is evidenced in the instances given below, which is only a glimpse of what takes place on a larger scale, unreported.


A judge of the Kano State High Court, was arraigned in 2002 before a High Court on a three-count charge of demanding and accepting the sum of N100, 000 as gratification in the course of his duties.[52] In August 2005, the Niger State government suspended a Chief Magistrate, Seidu Ibrahim for allegedly extorting N 100, 000 from a cattle rearer.[53]


Persons who complain or report corrupt officials, especially judicial officers, should be shielded from being arraigned before a disciplinary committee for making allegations of bribery before going into the merit of the case.[54] A seven man Panel for the Reform /Reorganization of the Judiciary, also known as Kayode Eso Panel was set up in 1993 to assess the state of the judiciary and make recommendations for its reforms. The Report indicted some judicial officers for corruption. The report was not made public or acted upon by the government initially,[55] until the release of the white paper in 2002, after several of those indicted in the report had died.[56] The National Judicial Council Review Committee, headed by Justice B. O. Babalakin ratified the Eso Panel Report and some judges were subsequently dismissed.[57] Hon. Justice Akanbi, former Chairman of Independent Corruption Practices Commission[58], asserted thus:

First is the problem of the corrupt judge, he is an afflicted person… what matters to him is the corrupt money that will be turned over to him by his partners in crime. His conscience is warped. His judicial oath means nothing to him, so he hardly realizes that he is an obstacle to justice according to law. In any case, by his nature, he is a stranger to justice, and if he is not caught in the act, he remains a perpetual obstacle in the way of justice until perhaps nemesis catches up with him. Otherwise, he is unable to appreciate, let alone administer justice according to law.[59]  

Some other Judges have also been removed as a result of corrupt practices.[60] In June 2005, the Supreme Court came under severe attack of allegations of corruption. For the first time in the history of the Court, a lawyer appearing before a panel of Supreme Court justices and accused the justices of collecting bribe of 14 Honda Civic cars. The allegation was made by Ephraim Duru, counsel to Globe Motors. The justices while denying the allegation said they would not be intimidated or harassed as a result of the allegation and challenged the applicant to give evidence to substantiate the claims. The Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria, wrote the then Attorney-General, Mr. Bayo Ojo, to prosecute Duru for contempt, and he has shown his willingness to do so. In his reply, Mr. Ojo said that this would go a long way in restoring the dignity of the judiciary, which is a big revered institution, that must not be allowed to be destroyed by anybody. The Body of Benchers in their reaction to the incident, proposed to set up a Disciplinary Committee to try Duru for misconduct. [61]


Some of the ramifications of corruption in the judiciary include: Delay and unnecessary adjournments, improper grant or refusal of bail, wrongful acquittal or conviction, and imposition of non-commensurate sentences[62]. These dimensions of corruption-induced actions take place when either the suspect or the complainant has gratified the judicial officer. The action taken by the judicial officer depends on the party that he has received gratification from. Either way, justice is perverted. This ultimately, leads to erosion of public confidence in the judiciary.


  1. Delay and unnecessary adjournments.

This situation arises where the accused person or the complainant is afraid of the eventual outcome of the case and rather than having the matter concluded, prefers to employ delaying tactics through perpetual adjournments. Where this is the intention of any of the parties, all available means are                            employed to frustrate the case to a stand still, or lead to the case being struck out for want of diligent prosecution. This cannot be achieved without the active connivance of the judicial officer handling the case. The judicial officer continues to adjourn the case for inconsequential reasons.[63]

The law empowers the court to grant adjournments judiciously in the interest of justice. This notwithstanding, sometimes, adjournments are given on the basis of very flimsy reasons that one might suspect that the judicial officer has an interest in the matter. Some of such reasons are that the prosecutor is not with the case file or that counsel is appearing in another court, even when he consented to the trial date.


The prosecutor, accused person’s counsel or the judicial officer could feign sickness and fail to show up for trial. The prosecutor or accused’s counsel could fail to produce the witnesses and then give reasons why the court should adjourn the matter. Besides absenteeism in relation to court attendance, another means of causing delay in consequence corruption is by filing and granting frivolous motions, which most times are exparte. The Courts rely on their wide discretionary powers to grant all types of applications.


When a case bothering on corruption is pending before a judge, his attitude ought to be to ensure speedy trial of the case or to give the case accelerated hearing so as to ensure that the fight against corruption yields the expected results, thereby boosting the morale of the public on the war against corruption. Justice Akanbi had cause to complain about a judge who after several adjournments over a one-year period simply transferred the case to another judge without any reason.[64] Justice Akanbi, exasperated by the spate of adjournments and frivolous applications, which frustrate prosecution of corruption cases, said:

I know that we used to have a fantastic judiciary, but now, you make a very serious application, the judge can stand it down. Today, even before the person starts a case, and I am talking of a fraudster case, there are three motions before the court, questioning his jurisdiction. Motion exparte, motion on notice. The judge says he is adjourning for two or three weeks to decide which one to take first. When the time comes, she does not appear. She says the registrar should go and adjourn. When she eventually comes, a Senior Advocate goes into that court and says “I have a matter before this court on the same subject. I have a motion exparte to be heard” Our lawyer was in court. He said “my Lord there is a motion on notice on the same subject. The judge said no, no, no, you can’t be heard. The judge granted the motion exparte, ordering an injunction, restraining us…. Nothing can be more disastrous[65].    


  1. Inappropriate grant or denial of bail.

In the administration of criminal Justice, the first involvement of the judicial officer is when the accused person is arraigned and his counsel applies for his bail, where he has one, after the charge has been read and plea taken. The issue of bail lies mainly within the discretion of the judicial officer, except in the cases where the law limits the jurisdiction of the judicial officer to certain offences.[66]  A. A. Adeyemi has noted that the issue of granting of bail appears to be the most scandalous of all the corrupt activities of the judiciary, particularly at the magisterial level.[67] He condemned the wide-spread practice of magistrates who collude with police officers and legal practitioners to grant bail to only those accused persons who can pay the stipulated sums, which will be shared by the magistrates, police officers, legal practitioners and such other agents or court personnel as may be involved in the deal.[68]  After the bail is approved, the surety has to pay for the bail bond to be released and for the production warrant to be filled.  The court clerk working in consonance with the magistrate may inform the surety that the warrant has to be photocopied, as there is none in the stock, a way of asking for “mobilization”.[69]  It is not unusual, for instance, for a magistrate to pronounce in the open court that an accused is released on bail for a specific sum, with sureties in like sum with proof of ownership of landed property within the court’s jurisdiction, and such bail conditions to be waived after negotiation in chambers. This sends a wrong message to the public who sees the criminal justice system as giving justice to the highest bidder.



  1. Trial

Another aspect where judicial officers are said to be corrupt is in the issue of trials. Ordinarily, after bail has been granted and the matter has been adjourned, the next stage is for the case to come up for hearing. It is said that some judicial officers do not open trials without being paid, or refuse to deliver judgements without gratification.[70] Within the trial process, elements of corruption occur in the decision to strike out, acquit or convict the accused person and in the imposition of sentences. There are always two ways to it. One party is favoured unduly at the detriment of the other party. Where he received gratification, his decision would lean towards the bidding of the party[71] giving the gratification and the other party is short changed.


The judicial officers often mask corruption in the use of discretionary powers. The magistrate or judge may know that the evidence the prosecutor has cannot sustain the charge against the accused or the charge is frivolous, but due to the gratification he had received or was promised, the case keeps coming up instead of being struck out. On the other hand, the magistrate or judge may also hastily strike out a case before it on the slightest failure by the prosecutor.  The use of discretionary powers during trial, is also often subjected to abuses resulting in wrongful acquittals and convictions and in the imposition of non-commensurate sentences.[72]


Bolaji Akinyemi, cited instances of the use of judicial discretionary powers beyond human understanding in the following examples: In August 2005, a Dutse Magistrate sentenced a 25 year old farmer to one year imprisonment and a fine of N 15,000 for stealing a motorcycle worth N 75,000. On 20th August 2005, an Ebute Metta Chief Magistrate sentenced a 27 year old man who stole Mercedes Benz bus valued at N 380, 000 to just cleaning the court room for a month. In the same month of August, an Illorin High Court sentenced a student to 10 years or a fine of N50, 000 for cultism.[73]


The problem with a wrongful conviction or an imposition of an excessive sentence is that the accused person might not have the resources to prosecute an appeal, and even where he can afford an appeal, he would have suffered some imprisonment before the appeal is heard. As for a wrongful acquittal, the State might not be interested in pursuing the appeal, and even where it does, it can only be on points of law.[74]


The integrity of judges is very important. Akin Oyebode has observed that the prospects for an effective judiciary would be greatly enhanced where there is determined commitment by judges to the sanctity of their oath of office to do justice without fear or favour, affection or ill will.[75] It is also recognised that the starting point for an effective judiciary lies in the appointment of capable credible and self-assured hands to the bench.[76] Bravery, intelligence and uprightness are desirable qualities of persons aspiring to the bench. These qualities, as observed by T. A. Aguda, are diminishing. Hence, the need for the local Bar to be given superior opportunity to recommend candidates for appointment to any judicial office.[77]   Taiwo Osipitan[78] emphasised that the need to appoint incorruptible judges, who will dispense justice fairly and fearlessly, finding scriptural support for this position in the valedictory speech of Moses to the Israelites before their entry into the promised land:

Appoint judges and officials for each of your tribes in every town your Lord God is giving you, and they shall judge the people fairly. Do not pervert the cause of justice or show partiality. Do not accept a bribe for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous. Follow justice and justice alone, so that you may possess the land your God is giving you.[79]


Abiola Ojo while reacting to a statement by former President Obasanjo, that the judiciary was corrupt, said:

We know that the appointment of the wrong people into the Bench is another way of making the judiciary corrupt. The President is the Appointing Officer[80]


This statement implies that the President, as the Appointing Officer, ought to ensure that only reliable people are appointed. Equally, the National Judicial Council, the State Governors, the National Assembly, and the State Houses of Assembly, who all have some role to play in the appointment of judges have the responsibility of ensuring that upright people are appointed to the Bench.  Besides the need to appoint credible persons as judicial officers, it is implicit in the concept of independence of the judiciary that judicial officers should earn enough to be able to resist the temptation of bribery. They also should not be arbitrarily removed from office. The security of tenure, except in cases of misdeeds, should be guaranteed until retirement[81].


When the judiciary is devoid of corruption, the propensity is for citizens to have more regard for the law and the judicial process. Consequently, the rule of law, which is the catalyst in any well-meaning democracy, would be greatly enhanced. This is captured by the words of Justice Arthur Vanderbilt, who remarked:

…. It is the courts and not the legislature that citizens primarily feel the keen, cutting edge of the law. If they have respect for the work of the courts, their respect for law will survive the shortcomings of every other branch of government; but if they lose their respect for the work of the courts, their respect for law and order will vanish with it to the great detriment of society.[82]  

The statement above emphasises the close link between the citizens’ respect and faith in the ability and integrity of the courts and their respect for the law.  A judicial officer is a custodian of the laws of the land and should act at all times in a manner that is befitting of the respect and integrity reserved for that office. The special position of judicial officers as regards crimes, vis-à-vis other citizens, can be seen in the aphorism, if gold should rust, what will happen to iron? In the exercise of administrative duties, a judicial officer should avoid every appearance of favouritism.[83]


There are allegations that the judiciary allows itself to be used to frustrate efforts at stamping out corruption in the country. A member of the ICPC, Alhaji Muhammed Maishanu, cited the granting of frivolous applications by judges, as a dimension of the rot that would make the war against corruption difficult to be won.[84] He warned that unless the attitude of the Bar and the Bench towards the prosecution of corrupt Nigerians arraigned before the courts is changed, the war against corruption would continue to be frustrated.[85]


Judicial officers, especially those hearing cases bordering on corruption, must be mindful of the fact that the corruption offender, by the very nature of his offence, is a corrupt person; and he is more likely to seek to bribe any criminal justice personnel seized of his matter, more than any other offender.[86] For this reason, a judicial officer seized of a matter bordering on corruption should be sensitive to attempts to lure him or her into the same offence.


It is a recognized reality that for a judge to live up to his judicial pledge and effectively administer justice without fear or favour, he must be liberated from pecuniary humiliation. This fact was attested to when Justice Akanbi, said,

 A good judgment flows from a mind that is not bogged by the thought of where do I get my next meal or where do I get the money to pay my sons school fees. Poor conditions of service disturb the mind. It is an obstacle to clear and positive thinking…[87]  


This statement underscores the need for judicial officers of all cadres to be adequately remunerated. It has been suggested that to deter corrupt judicial officers, the National Judicial Council should introduce a Book of Dishonour, where the names of judicial officers who have been found guilty of corruption or other ignoble acts, after due process of law, should be published on a yearly basis.[88]  Adequate punishment should be meted out to such officers who are found guilty. Likewise, we propose that, alongside the yearly Book of Dishonour in the judiciary, there should equally be a Roll of Honour for uprightness and integrity. This should not be restricted to the judiciary alone, but should be applicable to all members of the Legal Profession.  It is further recommended that there should also be a separate Bar Book / Roll of Honour/Dishonour.


The United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) Project tagged, Strengthening Judicial Integrity,[89] had noted that a corrupt judiciary is a serious impediment to the success of any anti -corruption strategy. It went ahead to state that an ethically compromised judiciary means that the legal and institutional mechanisms designed to curb corruption, however well targeted, efficient or honest, remains crippled.[90] The outputs of this project, included among other things, the following:

  1. A Model Action Plan for Judicial Reform.
  2. A Methodology for the Assessment of Justice Sector Integrity and Capacity.
  3. The Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct.[91]

The UNODC carried out a separate project in Nigeria between 3rd March to 3rd July 2003 on Strengthening Judicial Integrity and Capacity in Nigeria.[92] The achievements of the projects are, inter alia:

  1. Setting clear objectives concerning:
  2. Access to justice
  3. Timeliness and quality of the trial process
  • Public confidence in the courts
  1. Efficiency and effectiveness in dealing with public complaints, and
  2. Co-ordination throughout the criminal justice system.
  3. The introduction of measurable performance indicators for the above mentioned objectives; including institutional integrity, judicial independence, the abuse of substantive and procedural discretion, accountability, efficiency and effectiveness of the justice system.
  4. The establishment of a coalition of key stakeholders, representing the three pillars of integrity, namely, the justice system institutions, the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), the civil society, represented by the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), the mass media and the Bar Association.
  5. The fast track implementation of reform measures, which have potentials to impact standards of judicial conduct, raise public confidence in the judicial system and strengthen the rule of law.
  6. Increased awareness regarding the:
    1. Negative impact of corruption
    2. Levels of corruption in the judiciary
    3. The role of the judiciary in combating corruption
    4. The various judicial reform efforts.

It is essential to urgently implement the output and recommendations of the UNODC project on Strengthening Judicial Integrity,[93] which is a blueprint for fighting corruption within the judiciary.

  1. 2. Prosecutors

The two major prosecutors in the Nigerian criminal justice system are the police and the state counsel, who are law officers in the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), ultimately headed by the Attorney General. These agencies are considered below.

(a) Police:

The police is an integral part of our criminal justice system. A large percentage of criminal prosecutions take place in the lower courts, especially the magistrate courts, and it is the police that handle them. By section 23 of the Police Act[94], the police officer may conduct in person all prosecutions before any court whether or not the information or complaint is laid in his name. However, this is subject to the provisions of sections 174 and 211 of the Constitution. From the wordings of section 23 of the Police Act, it appears a police officer can prosecute cases in the High Court. By necessary implication, the police can prosecute but the power to conduct such prosecutions is subject to the provisions of sections 174 and 211of the Constitution. This issue was the bone of contention in the case of Olusemo v. Commissioner of Police[95]. The implication of this decision is that the police can prosecute only where the provisions of sections 174 and 211 are not invoked.[96]

As far as the ambit of this article is concerned, our discussion on police is limited to the activities of the lawyers in the employment of the police.  The police exercise the discretion as to whether or not to prosecute an accused person, based on the evidence it has before it. However, the decision to prosecute or not to prosecute may be influenced by the gratification the police personnel may have received or may have been promised. He could recommend non-prosecution in a case that requires prosecution, or prosecute on issues that would ordinarily not require prosecution.

Rule (37) (6) of the 2007 Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners prohibits the secreting of witnesses, and suppression of facts capable of establishing the innocence of the accused. Despite this provision, it is common for the prosecutor to intentionally keep a crucial witness away from court in other to truncate justice and seek a conviction or discharge and acquittal at all costs.

Where he decides to ignore the relevant evidence and decline to prosecute, the tendency is that the officer will have to suppress the crucial evidence. Corruption also rears its head in the decision to either oppose or not to oppose bail applications.

When the case eventually gets to the court, and trial commences, the police prosecutor might unduly fail to attend court for frivolous reasons. Where he attends, he might fail to produce relevant witnesses, or seek adjournments continually. All these are employed to ensure that the court gets tired or irritated and strikes out the case for lack of diligent prosecution. Having done this, the police would have succeeded in letting one more criminal off the hook to continue in his criminality. There are also cases, where police deliberately persecute suspects instead of prosecuting properly. In such situations, the complainant in connivance with the police, might have cooked up false charges and bring up false evidence against the suspect.

 (b) The Attorney-General and the Law Officers

Constitutionally, it is the function of the Attorney-General to undertake criminal prosecutions.[97] Sections 174 and 211 of the Constitution empower the Attorney-General of the Federation and of the States, respectively, to institute, and undertake, take over, and continue or discontinue criminal proceedings against any person before any court of law in Nigeria. These functions of the Attorney- General, which he exercises in person or through officers in his Department, can be subject to abuse as a result of corruption.

The officers in the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP), popularly known as State Counsel or Law Officers, are the prosecutors in the Ministry of Justice. They represent the State in criminal matters, mostly in the superior courts. The State Counsel advises the police on criminal cases; writes legal opinion on cases; appears on behalf of the State in motions[98]; exercises the discretion whether or not to prosecute; files information and proofs of evidence, where a prosecution has been decided, and goes on to do the prosecuting. With all these, the State Counsel has enormous say on the fate of a criminal case. Where the officer handling a particular file is corrupt, and has received gratification to do what he ought not to do, or refrain from doing what he ought or ought not to do, he could easily twist the case to go to any direction favourable to the party he desires to please.


The officers in the Office of the DPP, upon perusal of the case file, render necessary advice on the appropriate line of action, as to whether to prosecute the accused person, if so, what charges to prefer against him. In his exercise of discretion to prosecute, a law officer may exercise the discretion negatively or positively, depending on the party  whose bidding he wants to do, where he has received or been promised a reward. In the same manner, he might decide to oppose or not oppose a motion for bail, depending on the party he received gratification from. Such an officer could intentionally fail to direct the police to carry out further and better investigations where he observes that there are some arrears in the evidence that needs to be clarified by further investigations.  He could also frustrate a case by employing delay tactics, either in writing the legal opinion, or during the prosecution, by absenting himself in court, etc., all in a bid to cause a deadlock of the case.


Besides the Constitutional[99] powers of the Attorney-General to discontinue criminal proceedings, sections 73 and 74 of the Criminal Procedure Act[100] and section 253 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code also empowers him to do same. This is known as the power of the Attorney-General to enter a nolle prosequi. The powers of nolle prosequi can only be exercised personally by an incumbent Attorney-General, or through delegated officers in his Department, in which case, the instrument has to be signed by the Attorney-General himself.[101] Sometime in 2002, a Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defence, Julius Makanjuola and some others were brought before Justice Sidi Bage at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, by Federal Government on a charge of colossal fraud involving N 450 million. Just when the case started heating up, the Attorney-General entered a nolle prosequi, stopping further prosecution of the case.[102] The Attorney-General in the exercise of his power to discontinue criminal proceedings is to have regard to public interest, the interests of justice and the need to prevent abuse of the legal process. It is assumed that these considerations were borne in mind by the Attorney-General in the exercise of this power.[103] It is believed that, in determining what action would be in the interest of the public, the Attorney-General must bear in mind not only the legal considerations, but also socio-political and economic considerations.[104] However, the decision of the Attorney-General to enter a nolle prosequi, cannot be challenged in a subsisting proceeding where the nolle prosequi was entered on the grounds that he did not have regard to public interest, the interests of justice and the need to prevent abuse of legal process.[105] The only remedy for a person who feels aggrieved about the entry of the nolle prosequi is for the person to institute a civil suit seeking a declaration by the Court that the nolle prosequi was entered in bad faith.[106]

The powers of the Attorney-General to enter or not to enter a nolle prosequi are very wide powers, vested completely by public trust in the ability of the Attorney to exercise his discretion uprightly.[107] This power is very difficult, if not impossible to curtail, given its constitutional backing. Nonetheless, the exercise of this power can be influenced by corruption, and where it is wrongly entered or denied, our society becomes the worse for it. Such an action further weakens the already lean public confidence in the criminal justice system.


(c) Lawyers in Private Practice

Contrary to the impression created by earlier legislations[108] which failed to make provisions relating to corruption in the private sector, corruption still flourishes in the private sector.[109] Corruption within the public sector is most evident at the public/private sector interface. The private sector propels public sector corruption.[110] As parts of the same integral society, they compliment each other, such that the attitudes and habits of one sector are bound to affect and influence the attitudes and habits in the other sector.[111]

In recognition of this perverse coalition, article 11(1) of the A. U. Convention against Corruption commits State Parties to adopt legislative and other measures to prevent and combat acts of corruption and related offences committed in and by agents of the private sector.


Lawyers in the private practice are not left out in the facets of corruption that take place in the private sector. Most times, they act as link between their clients and the officer involved. Right from when they go to see their clients in police or prison custody, some lawyers gratify the police or warders to see their clients; to obtain bail or for the police to drop the charges against their client. Where they do not do this directly, they encourage their clients to do so. In some cases, where the lawyer is briefed to secure bail for a client who is alleged to have committed a serious offence, the lawyer might decide to secure bail at all cost, and disregard due process, especially in capital offences. In such cases, the police is heavily bribed to tamper with the results of the investigation, or cause the disappearance of the case file, or exhibits and/or the accused person, thereby, obstructing the course of justice. These practices are clearly at variance with the provisions of the Rules of Professional Conduct in the Legal Profession[112].

In most serious and complicated cases, the police usually send the case files containing evidence of their investigation to the Office of the DPP for vetting and legal advice. Some lawyers are in the practice of trailing these case files, in order to manipulate the outcome of the legal advice. A social commentator, in decrying the decay in the criminal justice system, stated:

The lawyers have descended to the gutter level of money traffickers. Counsel are now more skilful in sharing money from his client to the prosecutors and the magistrate, than in the real advocacy.[113] 

It is common practice to see devious lawyers taking undue advantage of the offender / clients by cooking up stories all in a bid to extort money from them in addition to his legal charges. They tell all sorts of lies, claiming that they need some money to pass over to the judicial officer, in order to have judgement in their favour. In many instances, the money never gets to the judicial officer. This situation prompted a former Judge of the High Court of Lagos State, Justice Morenike Onalaja, to lash out at lawyers, when he said:

Unscrupulous lawyers that appear before this court have been going about telling their clients about the so called problem involved in appearing before my court and in the pretext, collect money, on exception of their usual fees, from their clients, promising that they would pass on such illegally collected money to me, which is most untrue. They claim that would eventually give them justice in my court.[114] 

A number of lawyers also try to influence the outcome of criminal cases by sending unsolicited gifts to judicial officers. They show manifest or extraordinary generosity to judicial officers all in a bid to have their favour in a case that already is, or might be coming before them. Such practices bring the reputation and integrity of the Legal Profession into disrepute.

During the trial of cases, even those cases bordering on the offence of corruption, lawyers make attempts at stalling the trials by employing delaying tactics,[115] filling all sorts of applications and seeking unnecessary adjournments. This should not be the attitude of lawyers especially in cases involving corruption, which is a crime that has earned Nigeria very bad image, at home and abroad, and about which efforts are being made in order to stamp out such practices.[116]

In this connection, the observation of an erudite scholar, D. A. Ijalaye, is apt. He commented thus:

It cannot therefore be overemphasized that under the Nigerian Legal System, a good efficient, reliable, dependable and incorruptible bar will surely pave the way for an independent, courageous, intelligent, fearless and incorruptible bench.[117]  

Lawyers should henceforth, resist the temptation of offering money to any official in order for the officer to do what he is paid for, whether the officer requests for the money or not. If every lawyer shuns such entreaty, sooner than later, policemen, warders, judicial officers, etc, would stop expecting gratification from lawyers and do their jobs dedicatedly. The Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee should be poised to receive complaints against lawyers and to punish such erring lawyers accordingly.


  1. The Machinery and Institutional Mechanisms for Combating Corruption

The fight against corruption is not new to Nigeria. The only new thing is the renewed vigour of the fight. Past administrations, both military and civilian, have made efforts at fighting the monster, corruption. Section 15 (5) of the 1999 Constitution provides that the State shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power. The Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, (CPROA), 2000[118] and all the other previous laws on corruption were passed in fulfilment of this constitutional provision.

Besides the institutions set up to check indiscipline and professional misconduct among the members of the legal profession, which includes the Bar and the Bench, other institutions set up by the government to combat corruption in Nigeria, that have some impact in curbing corruption within the criminal justice system and among the legal profession, both within and outside the public service, are also discussed in this section.

Justice Kayode Eso[119] enumerated the abortive attempts of successive governments in Nigeria in stamping out corruption.[120] He attributed the failure of such programmes to official double standard of allowing those he called sacred cows, the untouchables to go scot free from the punishment of corrupt enrichment, while the poor and powerless, bear the brunt of the law. According to Justice Mustapha Akanbi, prior to the inception of the ICPC, government, which was supposed to set standards and lead by example rather than precepts, was part of the unholy alliance in the grand game of corruption in public life. He further stated that the anti-corruption institutions put in place then, were made impotent due to lack of infrastructural facilities.[121]

At the global level, the United Nations has also shown concern on the need for nations to have comprehensive Anti-corruption laws. Recommendation 8 of the Draft United Nation’s Resolution on International Cooperation for Crime and Criminal Justice, states:

Because the corrupt activities of public officials can destroy the potential effectiveness of all types of governmental programmes, hinder development and victimize individuals and groups, it is of crucial importance that all Nations review the adequacy of their criminal law, including procedural legislation in order to respond to all forms of corruption and related actions designed to assist or facilitate corrupt activities…[122]



  1. Earlier Laws on Corruption

Some of the laws which concern public officers within the scope of our discussion deserve mention here, without going into details of their operations, since they have become moribund with the dawn of democracy and new superseding laws. They include:

  1. Civil Service Commission and Other Statutory Bodies (Removal of Certain Persons from Office) Act, Cap 54 LFN, 1990

This Act authorizes the removal from office, of an officer who has engaged in corrupt practice, or has in any way corruptly enriched himself or any other person. The appropriate authority is to dismiss the person summarily from his office or require the person to retire compulsorily from the service.[123]


  1. Recovery of Public Property (Special Tribunals) Decree No.3 of 1984[124]

By this Decree, a public officer who is alleged to have engaged in corrupt practices, unjust enrichment of himself or any other person who has abused his office or breached the Code of Conduct for Public Officers would have his assets investigated. Penalty upon conviction under this law includes forfeiture of the illegally acquired asset to the Federal Government.



  1. National Orientation Agency Act, No. 100 of 1993[125]

The National Orientation Agency was set up to propagate the need to eschew all vices in public life, including corruption, dishonesty, electoral and census malpractice etc.


  1. Existing Legislations and Institutions
  2. The Criminal Code[126] and Penal Code[127]

Both the Criminal Code and the Penal Code contain provisions dealing with the offence of corruption. The Criminal Code provisions on corruption are found in Chapter 12 of the Code, while the Penal Code contains provisions on corruption in sections 115-122. The two Codes restricted the scope of corruption to public officers, which has been greatly criticized.[128] While the Penal Code provisions on corruption are quite wide, more lucid and without much technicalities, the Criminal Code provisions are very technical and compartmentalized, resulting in so many loopholes that often, persons who are obviously guilty of the offences charged, are set free on technical grounds, like the charge being brought under the wrong section.[129] The Court in Amaechi v. Commissioner of Police[130] recognized this problem when it noted that the law relating to official corruption and kindred offences is not easy.

The Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act,[131] repealed sections 98, 100, 114-116 of the Criminal Code, and replaced them with sections 98, 98A, 98B, 98C and 98D. The new provisions, among other things, got rid of the distinction between corruption touching on the administration of justice, and those not related to administration of justice. Under the old provision, while official corruption not related to the administration of justice was punishable with seven years imprisonment, judicial corruption and corruption touching on the administration of justice, attracted greater penalty of fourteen years imprisonment.[132] Section 98C extended the definition of judicial officer beyond that given in section 1 (1). Prosecution of offences is intended to cover all public servants, which covers all those employed in the Public Service, including the Nigeria Police.[133]


The Nigeria Police

The Nigeria Police is the foremost organization for investigating crimes in Nigeria. The police is the government agency directly in charge of law enforcement. Part of their functions include: Preventing and detecting crimes, apprehending offenders, detaining suspects, interrogating suspects, drawing up charges and prosecuting cases[134]. The offences of bribery and corruption have always been part of the Criminal and Penal Codes in Nigeria, which the police could investigate and prosecute. But now it is a matter which must ultimately be referred to the ICPC or the EFCC.


  1. Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.[135]

This Act is aimed at curbing economic crimes, which by implication, includes corruption. It makes comprehensive provisions to prohibit the laundering of the proceeds of crime or an illegal act, and provides appropriate penalties. It expands the interpretation of financial institutions and scope of supervision of regulatory authorities on money laundering activities, among other things[136]. Nevertheless it is also a piece of legislation that aids the war against corruption.[137] Money laundering is a process of intermingling the financial proceeds of criminal activity into the legitimate financial system, with intent to conceal its origin and disguise its nature.[138] Section 10 of the Act mandates all financial institutions and designated non-financial institutions to disclose and report to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in writing within 7 days, any single transaction, lodgment or transfer of funds in excess of N1, 000,000 or its equivalent in the case of individual, and N5, 000, 000 or its equivalent in the case of body corporate. The Act also prohibits any person or body corporate from making or accepting cash payment of a sum exceeding N500, 000 or its equivalent in the case of an individual, or N2, 000, 000 or its equivalent in the case of a body corporate, except in a transaction involving a financial institution.  This Act will make it difficult for a corrupt official to deposit the financial proceeds of corruption in a bank or other financial institution.


The Act is in harmony with the provisions of article 6 of the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption[139], which dwells on laundering of proceeds of corruption. The article mandates the States to adopt legislative measures to establish criminal offences regarding among other things, the conversion, transfer or disposal of property knowing that such is the proceeds of corruption, for the purpose of concealing or disguising the illicit origin of the property or of helping any person to evade legal consequences of his action.[140]


  1. Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Act[141]

This Act established the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, with responsibility for the enforcement of all economic and financial crimes laws, among other things.[142] Economic and financial crimes are in most cases, also laced with corruption.


The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)

The Commission was established by the Economic and Financial Crimes Act to administer the provisions of the Act. The Commission has the responsibility among other things, for the investigation of all financial crimes including advance fee fraud, money laundering, counterfeiting, illegal charge transfers, future market fraud, fraudulent encashment of negotiable instruments, computer credit card fraud, contract scam, etc.[143] The Commission is the coordinating agency for the enforcement of the provisions of:

  1. the Money Laundering Act,
  2. the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Act,
  3. the Failed Banks (Recovery of Debt and Financial Malpractices in Banks) Act, as amended.
  4. the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act 1991, as amended;
  5. Miscellaneous Offences Act; and
  6. any other law or regulation relating to economic and financial crimes, including the Criminal Code and Penal Code.


The Federal High Court or High Court of a State or of the Federal Capital Territory has jurisdiction to try offenders under the Act.[144] The courts are to ensure that all matters brought before them by the Commission against any person, body or authority, are conducted with dispatch and given accelerated hearing.[145] They are to give such matters priority over other matters pending before them.[146] All the properties of a person convicted of an offence under the EFCC Act, and shown to be derived or acquired from such economic and financial crimes, which is the subject matter of an interim order, shall be forfeited to the Federal Government.


The former Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun, was among the casualties in the onslaught against corruption by the EFCC. The EFCC claimed in an initial seventy-count charge, that Balogun was into money laundering and theft of police funds.[147]  Altogether, Balogun was accused of stealing N12.8 billion. The charges were later amended and reduced to fifty counts. A few days after the charges were amended, Balogun was again dragged before an Abuja High Court to face a fresh ninety two-count charge of official corruption and failure to fill assets declaration forms. Following the enormity of the offences, the legal teams of both Balogun and the EFCC agreed to bargain for settlement. Balogun pleaded guilty to all the charges and was subsequently convicted and sentenced to six months imprisonment. He was to forfeit assets worth several billions of naira, including real estates, publicly quoted shares and several other investments and pay additional N4 million fines to the Federal Government.[148] Some people have expressed the views that the six months term of imprisonment was not punitive enough for the enormity of the offence. If one considers the fact that it is not hundred percent guaranteed that EFCC would have secured a conviction, after spending so much time and money, then the wisdom in the plea bargain would be better appreciated.

The EFCC as at January 2006, under the leadership of Mallam Nuhu Ribadu recovered over N500 billion in cash and property from corrupt public officials and others involved in financial crimes.[149] There are suggestions that since the former Chairman of EFCC, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu was removed, the EFCC under Mrs. Farida Waziri, has lost its vibrant character, and has also lost the cooperation and goodwill of the Western world. These Western countries have seen the signals from Nigeria that it has lost interest in fighting corruption[150].


  1. Public Complaints Commission Act[151]

The Constitution recognizes this Act in section 315 (5) (b) as an existing law that cannot be invalidated by any thing in the Constitution. The Act establishes the Public Complaints Commission

   The Public Complaints Commission

The Public Complaints Commission was established by the Public Complaints Commission Act.[152]  The Commission is run by a Chief Commissioner and other Commissioners, appointed by the National Assembly. The Chief Commissioner is responsible for coordinating the work of all other Commissioners, while all Commissioners are responsible to the National Assembly.[153]

The Commissioners are empowered to, inquire into complaints by members of the public concerning the administrative action of any public authority and companies or their officials, and other matters ancillary thereto.  Members of the public are at liberty to lodge complaints to the Commission on any misdeed by any public official, authority, companies or their officials, including acts related to corruption.[154]  It investigates administrative acts, which appear to be contrary to any law or regulation, and to investigate administrative procedures of any court of law in Nigeria.[155]


The Commission was not primarily designed as an anti-corruption organ.[156] Its main purpose was to check the pervasive incidence of administrative arbitrariness and injustice.[157] Nevertheless, the Commission could still investigate corruption cases generally and, within the criminal justice administration in particular, since the enabling Act makes it clear that they could investigate any administrative acts, which are, or appear to be contrary to any law or regulation.

The Commission does not give conclusive punishments after its investigations. It could only make recommendations to the appropriate administrative agency; refer the case to the National Assembly or State House of Assembly, report its findings to any other appropriate authority or recommend prosecution, where a crime is involved.[158]


It is an offence punishable with a fine of N500 or six months imprisonment, or both, for any person summoned in writing to testify on any matter before a Commissioner to fail to appear before him.[159]

It is submitted that while the six months imprisonment appear commensurate to the offence, the fines stipulated as penalties for offences under the Act are too low and cannot satisfy the intent of the law, considering that N500 today cannot to all intents and purposes be regarded as punitive in the present day Nigeria.


A major limitation on the functions of the Commission is that the Commissioner does not investigate any complaint in which the complainant has not exhausted all available legal or administrative procedures and any matter in which the complainant has no personal interest.[160] That means that even if the complainant was a witness to an unlawful act, within its terms of reference, the Commission cannot investigate it, simply because the complainant has no personal interest. This is the issue of locus standi, which also plagues the courts. Besides this, there is the likelihood that a remedy would have been found to the matter by the time it goes through the legal and administrative procedures. These impediments restricting the scope of the Commission, in addition to the low level of public awareness about its existence and activities, which has kept their activities at a low ebb.[161]


The Public Complaints Commission Act should be amended to do away with the requirement of personal interest. Since the Commission is empowered to investigate suo motu, it would only be reasonable for them to receive complaints from any one, even if they are anonymous, and investigate them. The Commission is not likely to know what goes on in offices, if they are not informed.


The proportion of cases on corruption handled by the Public Complaints Commission has been negligible.[162]To improve upon this record, there is need for mass enlightenment on the functions of the Commission to raise public awareness of its functions and activities.


  1. Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act[163]

The Fifth Schedule to the Constitution establishes a Code of Conduct for Public Officers. The Code of Conduct is further given legislative backing by the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act.[164]  It is a guiding Code of dos and don’ts regulating the conduct of public officers. The Code of Conduct binds all members of the Legal Profession in the government service. They include the judicial officers of the various courts, and lawyers working in the Federal and State Ministries of Justice. The Schedule commences by stipulating that a public officer shall not put himself in a position where his personal interest conflicts with his duties and responsibilities[165]. This initial provision, by implication incorporates in its ambit, cases of bribery and other illegal acts done for personal enrichment. The Code strictly prohibits acts of bribery and sundry acts of corruption by stating that a public officer shall not ask for or accept property or benefits of any kind for himself or any person on account of anything done or omitted to be done by him in the discharge of his duties.[166] The public officer shall only accept personal gifts or benefits from relatives or personal friends to such extent and on such occasions as are recognized by custom.[167]


As for those that might wish to bribe a public officer, section 12 makes it an offence for any person to offer a public officer any property, gift or benefit of any kind as an inducement or bribe for the granting of any favour for the discharge in his favour of the public officer’s duties.

In addition to these and other provisions, a public officer is mandated to declare his or her assets and liabilities and those of his or her unmarried children who are under twenty-one, immediately after taking office and thereafter, at the end of four years and at the end of their terms of office. [168]


Code of Conduct Bureau

The Constitution and the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act[169]established the Code of Conduct Bureau. The main aim and objective of the Bureau is to establish and maintain a high standard of morality in the conduct of government business, and to ensure that the actions and behaviour of public officers conform to the highest standards of public morality and accountability[170]. The Bureau among other things is also, to ensure compliance with and, where appropriate, enforce the provisions of the Code of Conduct or any law relating thereto. It also has the powers to receive complaints about non- compliance with or breach of the provisions of the Code of Conduct or any law in relation thereto, investigate the complaint and where appropriate, refer such matters to the Code of Conduct Tribunal.[171] The Code of Conduct Scheme, which relies heavily on assets declaration as a means of curtailing corruption and fraud, has suffered abuses from civil servants who made false declarations in addition to the inability of the Bureau to verify the assets declared or ensure compliance.[172]


The idea has also been mooted that the Code of Conduct Bureau should have a strong Research and Mobilization Department that will constantly review best practices globally to feed other countries’ experiences in combating corruption, into the anti-corruption campaign.[173]

Failure of government to constitute members of the Bureau and Tribunal promptly, especially during the Second Republic, watered down the force of the Act, to the extent that it was described as a paper tiger.[174]  There is need to institutionalize annual declaration of assets by officers involved in criminal justice administration. This will enable a constant and consistent monitoring and evaluation of the state of corruption in criminal justice administration.

The Code of Conduct Bureau should be strengthened by enlarging its staff number and enhancing its powers, especially to carryout search and recover operations. It should try to verify the authenticity of the declarations made by public officers in the assets declaration forms.


 The Code of Conduct Tribunal

A Code of Conduct Tribunal was established to consist of a Chairman and two other members.[175] The Tribunal has the power to punish any public officer found guilty of contravening any of the provisions of the Act. It can impose any of the following punishments, without prejudice to the penalties that may be imposed by any law where the breach of conduct is also a criminal offence under the Criminal Code or any other enactment or law. They include:

  1. Vacation of office or any elective or nominated office, as the case may be;
  2. Disqualification from holding any public office, (whether elective or not) for a period not exceeding ten years; and
  3. Seizure and forfeiture to the State of any property acquired in cases of abuse of office or corruption.

Any party to a proceeding before the Tribunal can appeal against its decision to the Court of Appeal.[176]

The Code of Conduct Tribunal, which sat in Kaduna between August 16 and 21, 2004, headed by Justice Muhammed Bashir Sambo, said it convicted a total of 93 of the 94 persons tried for flouting the Code of Conduct Act on Assets Declaration. All the convicts pleaded guilty to the charges and were summarily tried and punished.[177] The Tribunal also ordered the arrest of 77 top civil servants and political office holders, who were summoned but refused to appear.[178]

It appears from the instances above that the Code of Conduct Tribunal has woken up to its responsibilities. However, a major problem being encountered by the tribunal is the refusal of public officers to appear before it, after being summoned. One would like to see more of such commendable activities and consistent sanctioning of erring public officials especially the top shots in the public service.


  1. Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act (CPROA)[179]

The CPROA prohibits and prescribes punishments for corrupt practices and other related offences. It establishes the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), vesting it with the responsibility for investigation and prosecution of offenders thereof.


One of the initial cases that challenged the constitutionality of the CPROA was the case of Attorney-General of Ondo State v. Attorney General of the Federation[180]. The plaintiff sought inter alia, the determination of the following questions: Whether the CPROA, 2000, as a law enacted by the National Assembly is valid as a law in force in every State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, including Ondo State and whether the Attorney-General of the Federation or any person authorized by him can lawfully initiate legal proceedings in any court of law in Ondo State in respect of any of the criminal offences created by any of the provisions of the Act. The Supreme Court, sought the opinions of Senior Advocates of Nigeria[181]. The Court held, inter alia, that the National Assembly had the power to enact the anti-corruption law, and that the Attorney-General of the Federation could initiate criminal proceedings in Ondo State on offences created by the Act. This decision has been described as a landmark judgement that has again reaffirmed the independence of the judiciary.[182]

As regards penalties for these offences, the penalties range from a minimum of one year to a maximum sentence of seven years imprisonment. Where fines and forfeiture are provided for, these are usually in addition to the term of imprisonment.


Section 8 introduced for the first time, the presumption of corruption.[183] By this section, if in any proceedings under section 8 (1), it is proved that a public officer or some other person at his instance, received any property or benefit of any kind, or a promise thereof, from a person seeking to obtain anything whatsoever from a government department, public body, or other organization or institution in which the public officer is serving, the property or benefit is presumed to have been received corruptly, unless the contrary is proved. This provision by necessary implication transfers the burden of proof on the accused person to rebut the presumption.[184] C. O. Okonkwo, while lending his support for this provision, noted that like conspiracy, the offence of corruption is usually a secret affair, implicating both sides, both of which will usually deny the offence.185a

The presumption of corruption introduced in the CPROA is borne out of the zeal and the pulse of the nation to stamp out corruption at all cost, and appears reasonable on the face of it, but the problem is that it attempts to override the Constitution,[185] which still remains the supreme law of the land, and any provision of any law that is inconsistent with it, is null and void to the extent of its inconsistency.[186] It is submitted here that these sections that reverse both the presumption of innocence and the burden of proof, cannot be said to be constitutional, because the major purpose and essence of section 36(5) of the Constitution was taken away by the presumption of guilt.[187] The section[188] made it clear that only a law that imposes burden of proving particular facts is excused, not the one that expressly reverses the burden of proof.


Section 39 contains a remarkable provision. It empowers a Judge of the High Court on application made to him, in relation to an investigation into any offence under the Act or any other law prohibiting corruption, to order a legal practitioner to disclose information available to him in respect of any transaction or dealing relating to any property, which is liable to seizure under the Act. The provision does not extend to disclosure of any privileged information or communication, which came to the lawyer’s knowledge for the purpose of prosecuting any pending proceeding. It would be difficult to distinguish between the information a lawyer had about his client’s property prior to the proceeding and the information, which came to his knowledge for the purpose of the pending proceeding. It would only be possible to prove that a lawyer had information about his client’s property; where there is document showing that he assisted in the procurement of such a property, in any other case, proving such knowledge would be difficult, if not impossible. This provision however, would require the cooperation of legal practitioners in the fight against corruption.[189] It is however gratifying that this power is subject to a court order and would reduce the possibility of abuse.[190]


Section 55 (a) is to the effect that a person who took part in a corrupt act, is not to be regarded as an accomplice, once he reported the offence to the Commission before the completion of the act or acts constituting the offence.[191] Section 55 (b) and (c), enable the use of sting operations to arrest offenders. The sections provide that an agent provocateur is presumed to be worthy of credit, and any statement he makes, is admissible as evidence at his trial. These provisions, are at variance with the provisions of sections 178 (1) of the Evidence Act[192], and reduces the validity of such decisions as Odofin Bello v. State[193], where the Supreme Court cautioned on the dangers of convicting on the sole testimony of an accomplice.  


The need for absolute protection of the identity of the whistle blower cannot be overemphasized.[194] Consequently it is necessary to support the Whistle Blower Bill, currently pending at the National Assembly.[195]


The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, (ICPC)

The ICPC comprises of a Chairman and twelve (12) other members. Presently in Nigeria, the ICPC is the main body in the anti-corruption campaign. The statutory responsibilities of the Commission are wide and well spelt out to enable it combat all facets of corrupt activities. Section 6 of the Act, states that it shall be the duty of the Commission:

  1. where reasonable grounds exist for suspecting that any person has conspired to commit or has attempted to commit or has committed an offence under this Act or any other law prohibiting corruption, to receive and investigate any report of the conspiracy to commit, attempt to commit or the commission of such offence and in appropriate cases to prosecute the offenders;
  2. to examine the practices, systems and procedures of public bodies and where, in the opinion of the Commission, such practices, systems or procedures aid or facilitate fraud or corruption, to direct and supervise a review of them;
  3. to instruct, advise and assist any officer, agency or parastatals on ways by which fraud or corruption may be eliminated or minimized by such officer, agency or parastatal;
  4. to advise heads of public bodies of any changes in practices, systems or procedures compatible with the effective discharge of the duties of the public bodies as the Commission thinks fit to reduce the likelihood or incidence of bribery, corruption, and related offences;
  5. to educate the public on and against bribery, corruption and related offences; and
  6. to enlist and foster public support in combating corruption.

As regards investigation and prosecution of cases, section 5 of the Act, vests in the officers of the Commission, all the powers and immunities of a police officer under the Police Act and any other laws conferring power on the police, or empowering and protecting law enforcement agents.


Two Senior Advocates (SANs) were arraigned by the ICPC before an Abuja High Court for allegedly offering a 21-million naira bribe to a former Commissioner with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The ICPC charged the two SANs because they allegedly gave the bribe without reporting the matter to the police or the ICPC[196].


The ICPC Chairman, Justice Emmanuel Ayoola, noted that the relationship between the ICPC and other anti-graft agencies is a collaborative relationship. A relationship of information; intelligence sharing , and a liaison of one agency strengthening the potency of the other.[197] The ICPC is not without problems. Its former Chairman, Justice Akanbi, said that one of the greatest obstacles facing the Commission is inadequate political will to fight corruption as manifested in the paltry sums of money made available to the Commission every month.  Since its inception, Akanbi said the Commission had been given N1.5 billion each year, which is far below the required sum of N 2 billion every year, needed to tackle corruption in the Country[198].


To improve the effectiveness of the Commission, a draft Bill for amendment is before the National Assembly. Some of the proposed amendments are: (1). That the anti-corruption cases be heard speedily, (2) that the power to appoint designated judges to try ICPC cases be given to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court and (3) that bail should no longer be automatic. If this proposal on bail sails through, it would unduly curtail the right to bail, and run contrary to the constitutional provisions on right to bail.[199]


  1. Legal Practitioners Act[200] and the Rules of Professional Conduct in the Legal Profession

Every member of the Legal Profession is primarily guided by the Legal Practitioners Act and the Rules of Professional Conduct in the Legal Profession.[201] Section 4 (1) (c) of the Legal Practitioners Act, requires that a legal practitioner should be of good character, and that he should not have been:

  • guilty of any infamous conduct in any professional respect,[202]

(b) convicted of an offence incompatible with the status of a legal practitioner, and

(c) fraudulently enrolled as a legal practitioner.


The whole gamut of the Legal Practitioners Act and the 2007 Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners[203], are aimed at ensuring very high standard of discipline and professionalism within the profession. One cannot expect a lesser standard of rules for a profession, which is held in very high esteem by the society, particularly their clients who repose so much confidence in them.


Rule 17 (1) enjoins the lawyer to disclose to his client, all the circumstances of his relations to the parties, and any interest in or connection with controversy, which might influence the client in the selection of counsel. This provision is there to check incidences of suspicion and speculations as regards the fidelity of the lawyer to his client and his relationship with the other parties.

A lawyer should use his best efforts to restrain and to prevent his client from doing those things, which the lawyer himself ought not to do, and if the client persists in his action or conduct, his lawyer should terminate their relations. Lawyers are in duty bound to uphold the law. Hence, no service or advice ought to be rendered or given by them to clients that involve disloyalty to the law or involving corruption of holders of any public office. Improper advice in such circumstances is unethical and merits strong condemnation as unprofessional conduct. A lawyer should find his highest honour in a deserved reputation for fidelity to private trust and to public duty, as an honest man and as a patriotic and loyal citizen.


Every lawyer has a duty to uphold and observe the rule of law, promote and foster the cause of justice, maintain a high standard of professional conduct, and not engage in any conduct which is unbecoming of a legal practitioner.[204]    The expectation of A. A. Adeyemi,[205] that besides training in substantive and adjectival law, there should be a heavy dosage of training in ethical rules of the Legal Profession, is supported and should be turned into reality, so that intending members of the Legal Profession would be well grounded on ethical rules of the Legal Profession, right from the beginning of their training.

It is also extremely important that senior members of the bar should ensure that the younger lawyers employed in their firms are adequately remunerated. This will help to improve their 3dignity and curb any corrupt tendency.


 Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee

 The Legal Practitioners Act established the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee[206]. The Committee is charged with the duty of considering and determining any case where it is alleged that a person whose name is on the Roll has misbehaved in his capacity as a legal practitioner. Section 10 of the Act prescribes punishments for unprofessional conduct. Where a person, whose name is on the Roll, is judged by the Disciplinary Committee to be guilty of infamous conduct in any professional respect or a person whose name is on the Roll is convicted of an offence, which in the opinion of the Committee is incompatible with the status of a legal practitioner, the following penalties are available to the Committee:

  1. Ordering the Registrar to strike that person’s name off the Roll.
  2. Suspending that person from practice by ordering him not to engage in practice as a legal practitioner for such period as may be specified in the direction, or
  3. Admonishing that person,[207]


The decision of the Committee is not final, as it is subject to appeal to the Appeal Committee of the Body of Benchers within twenty-eight days of receiving the Notice of the Direction.[208] The Appeal Committee may allow or dismiss the appeal in whole or in part, or revoke or substitute the Direction as it deems fit. The decision of the Appeal Committee can be appealed against to the Supreme Court, within twenty-eight days from the date of service on him of the Direction.[209]  Where the Supreme Court finds a person whose name is on the Legal Practitioners’ Roll, guilty of infamous conduct in any professional respect in respect of any matter of which the Court or any other court of record has been seized, the Court could give any of such directions as  contained in section 11 (1) of the Act.[210]


The legal profession in Nigeria is a united profession. The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), at the Federal and the State levels, are close to their members, and are more likely to receive complaints against their members. They are, therefore, duty bound to be watchful and report any unprofessional activities of its members, especially allegations of corruption, to the national disciplinary committee for appropriate disciplinary actions. The system of the NBA is that when a lawyer in any branch of the NBA, is accused of professional misconduct, the branch investigates it and passes the ball rolling. If the branch finds that the lawyer has a prima facie case of misconduct, then it passes the papers to the national body where it goes to the Body of Benchers.[211]




  1. Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers

The objective of this Code of Conduct for judicial officers is to promote public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary.[212] While legal practitioners in Nigeria had since 1967, been bound by the Rules of Professional Conduct in the Legal Profession, which prescribes standards of professional conduct, etiquette and discipline; judges had until 1998, been without any Code of Conduct to guide their affairs. The judicial officers hitherto operated some unwritten ethics, which were to some extent of common knowledge in the profession and applied transiently in cases of misconduct.[213] The National Judicial Institute under the Chairmanship of the then Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Mohammed Uwais GCON, published the Code of Conduct in response to chronic occurrences of corrupt practices in the judiciary. This Code was fashioned after such codes already existing in other countries such as the U.S. [214]


The Code of Conduct was published in realisation of the fact that an independent, strong, and respectable judiciary is indispensable for the impartial administration of justice in a democratic state.[215] The Code of Conduct was also made available to ensure that judicial officers actively participate in establishing, maintaining, enforcing and observing a high standard of conduct so that the integrity and respect for the independence of the judiciary may be preserved.[216] The Code of Conduct applies to all categories of judicial officers throughout the Federation.

Rule 1 of the Code, enjoins judicial officers to respect and comply with the laws of the land and to conduct themselves at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. This provision is a reminder that the judicial officers are first of all bound by the laws of the land, which as far as the issue of corruption is concerned, includes the Constitution, the Criminal Code[217]; the Penal Code[218]; the Code of Conduct for Public Officers [219]; the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000;[220] the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2004[221];and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act, 2004[222] etc


Rule 3 (F)[223] subtly addresses the issue of corruption by judicial officers without mentioning the word corruption. It provides that a judicial officer and members of his family shall neither ask for, nor accept any gift, bequest, favour, or loan on account of anything done or omitted to be done by him in the discharge of his duties.[224] This rule extends its provisions beyond the judicial officer himself, to prohibit members of his family from corrupt acts that would affect the integrity of the judicial officer. This is to guard against instances where members of his family would demand or receive gratification to influence the officer to act or refrain from acting in a certain manner. This provision is commendable giving the fact that family members naturally have strong influence on a person. However, the Code would have tightened the loopholes the more, if it had extended to friends and associates or other persons that might present themselves as the agents of a judicial officer. Friends and associates could also have great influence as family, depending upon the closeness.[225]


  1. The National Judicial Council

The Constitution established the National Judicial Council (NJC) as one of the Federal Executive Bodies.[226] The Chief Justice of Nigeria heads the Council.[227] The Council has the powers, among other things, to –

  1. recommend to the President and Governors from a list of persons submitted to it by the Federal Judicial Service Commission and State Judicial Service Commissions, respectively, persons for appointment to judicial offices in the Superior Courts.
  2. recommend to the President and the Governors, the removal from office of judicial officers in the superior courts.[228]

It has been observed that the process of discipline of judges is very elaborate, and cannot be circumvented. All petitions against judges are promptly looked into by the NJC[229]. There have been instances where the NJC have looked into petitions against judicial officers, and dismissed the petitions.


In 2002, when a Lagos High Court Judge, Justice Ade-Alabi was accused of demanding the sum of $10 million from five accused persons standing trial on a case of attempted murder, the NJC waded into the matter, and found that the whole allegation was a ruse, an attempt to thwart justice and dent the good image of an upright judge.[230] In the same vein, the NJC dismissed a petition alleging judicial misconduct and likelihood of bias, against a Lagos High Court Judge, Justice Joseph Oyewole.[231]

Five judges who were members of an election tribunal were recently sacked by the NJC for accepting bribes after it had conducted a probe on the allegation.[232] The NJC has caused, at least, 20 judges to be removed from office in the past five years for accepting bribes and making improper judgments.[233]


In 2002, following the acceptance of the report of a five-member NJC Review Committee, headed by Justice B. O. Babalakin, set up to review the Report of Justice Kayode Eso Panel on the Reform of the Judiciary the NJC recommended the removal of six judges [234].  The Babalakin Review Committee, made some other far reaching recommendations. Among the recommendations is that the NJC should set up a committee to monitor judges’ performance nationwide. Under this arrangement, judges are required to produce mandatory quarterly returns to the NJC on completed cases. Furthermore, the NJC is to establish a system of monitoring the declaration of assets by serving judges, as an anti-corruption measure. Judges will also be rated on productivity and honesty, while being considered for appointments.[235] Judges of the Court of Appeal have equally not been spared. Hon. Justice Okwuchukwu Opene and Hon. Justice David Adedoyin Adeniji both of the Court of Appeal were dismissed after a Committee set by the National Judicial Council found them guilty of corruption and abuse of office[236].


  1. The Legislature

The investigative powers conferred by the National Assembly under section 88(1) of the Constitution, are exercisable, only for the purpose of enabling it to:

  1. make laws with respect to any matter within its legislative competence and correct any defects in existing laws; and
  2. expose corruption, inefficiency and waste in the execution and administration of laws within its legislative competence and in the disbursement or administration of funds appropriated by it.[237]

The legislature in Nigeria has been exercising its investigative powers in various areas within its legislative competence, including in the area of corruption. Since this present democracy in Nigeria, we have witnessed a series of investigations by the legislature of allegations of corruption, both within and outside the legislature. The legislature carries out this function by setting up a committee to investigate the matter and make recommendations. The committee so formed, normally invites the parties involved in the matter for hearing. The legislature has not yet investigated any case involving corruption in criminal justice administration.

Unfortunately, both the Upper and the Lower Legislative Houses in Nigeria that are supposed to investigate allegations of corruption, have been immersed in scandalous allegations of corrupt practices[238].  In 2002, Senator Arthur Nzeribe, cautioned his colleagues against a planned probe of some senators over allegations of N100 million bribery. The alleged bribe was to woo the Senators against former President Obasanjo’s veto on the 2002 Electoral Bill.  In a letter addressed to the Senators, Nzeribe drew attention to instances the Senators had allegedly compromised themselves in the past without any probe panel by the upper chamber. The letter read in part:

Do not allow the Senate to shoot itself on the foot. This panel will turn out to be a boomerang. It is simply speculative, dangerous and needless…The Senate must approach equity with clean hands. This Senate does not have clean hands. We are in glass houses and should not throw stones more so, at ourselves or at each other…[239] 

Even the leadership of the Senate is not spared.  People believe that, most of the time, the members of the Senate and House of Representatives are bribed with cash in big bags, popularly known, as Ghana Must Go in order to get a bill passed or derailed. This same view is formed in relation to members of the States Houses of Assembly.

In the heat of the N55 million bribery scandal involving the former education Minister, Professor Fabian Osuji, and the former Senate President, Chief Adolphus Wabara, along with six other Senators, Professor Osuji stunned the Senate Committee probing the allegations when he admitted giving the money to the law makers, and insisted that it was not bribe, but a welfare package to jerk up the Education Ministry’s Allocation in the 2005 Budget.[240] During the controversial move to extend the tenure of President Olusegun Obasanjo and governors beyond 2007, there were series of allegations of bribery. Notable among the allegations is the alleged offer of $ 1million each to members of the House of Representatives by forces within and outside the National Assembly to support the third term bid.[241]  The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Power, Ndudi Elumelu and ten other persons are currently on trial for allegedly defrauding the federal government of N5.2 Billion [$34.974 million] earmarked for rural electricity projects.[242] Quite recently, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Dimeji Bankole was arrested and is currently being prosecuted by the EFCC over allegations that he misused the sum of 10 billion naira borrowed from a commercial bank on behalf of the House of Assembly.[243]


The instances of corrupt practices in this article are not exhaustive of the corrupt practices in the legislature, but only a tip of the iceberg of what goes on in our legislative chambers. It can be rightly asserted that, for the legislature to carry out its constitutional function of fighting corruption, it must first of all purge itself of corruption in all its manifestations, as charity must begin at home.


  1. The Press.

We cannot discuss institutions that fight corruption without mentioning the cardinal role of the press, which is the watchdog of the society. There is no domestic law that specifies any corruption-fighting role for the press; nevertheless, the press frequently has its eyes on public officials and individuals. Through investigative journalism, it analyses and criticizes acts, which it considers objectionable. In so doing, it is regularly in the forefront in exposing corrupt acts.


It was in obvious realisation of the fact that the independent media potentially constitute some of the best forms of watchdog agents that provide oversight over public management, that the A. U. Convention against Corruption[244], provided that the State Parties, popularise the Convention with the full participation of the Media and Civil Society at large, and create an enabling environment that will enable civil society and the media to hold governments to the highest levels of transparency and accountability in the management of public affairs.

Section 39 of the Constitution[245] makes provisions on the right to freedom of expression and the press. Freedom of the press has been defined as, that degree of freedom from restraint, which is essential to enable proprietors, editors, and journalists to advance the public interest by publishing facts and opinion with which a democratic electorate can make responsible judgment.[246]


During the past military regimes in the Country, the press witnessed a repression of the rights to freedom of expression and the press. Publications were often confiscated and publishing houses closed down, while the publishers were arrested. One of the laws that were restrictive of this right was the Public Officers (Protection against False accusation) Decree No. 4 of 1984[247]. This Decree, besides making it an offence for any person to publish or transmit any message, rumour or report or statement which is false, also authorized the Military Government to proscribe the circulation of any newspaper, revoke the licence, or close any electronic media, where it was satisfied that the unrestricted circulation or existence of the media, was, or may be detrimental to the interest of the Federation or any part thereof. The implication of this Decree was that it could still be an offence to publish a statement that was true, but considered to be one that was detrimental to the interest of the Federation or any part thereof.[248] Prior to the failed bid to elongate the tenure of former President Obasanjo, the press had heaved a sigh of relief and had been reporting issues concerning the officials in the three arms of government and beyond without hindrance. However, there have been instances where the freedom of the press has been tampered with, in a way that smacks of military dictatorship. There have been repots of closure of media houses, seizures of tapes and arrests and detention of journalists and reporters.[249]


Presently, Nigeria cannot lay claim to the principle of freedom of the press, which was described by Yemi Osibajo and Kedinga Fogam, as a situation where there is a culture of a free flow of ideas, opinions and information; a situation where that culture of freedom is limited only by laws which are necessary to safeguard freedom.[250] It is through the efforts of the press that the public gets acquainted with happenings within the country and information about public officers and private individuals implicated in corrupt acts.[251]


The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act has recently been passed. The advantage of the FOI Act is that journalists, reporters and other practitioners have their dignity and human rights protected in the course of performing their duties.  Journalist and reporters will no more suffer from fear, harassment, brutalization and humiliation while discharging their duties.[252]  Hopefully, proper application of the FOI Act will help expose cases of corruption as people and journalists will now have access to some classified information.


  1. Conclusion

Corruption in the administration of criminal justice has punched holes in the confidence of the public in institutions set up to administer criminal justice in Nigeria. It is safe to conclude that the importance of the role of the legal profession in curbing corruption in criminal justice administration cannot be overemphasized. The members of the legal profession must, therefore, in the administration of criminal justice, in particular, and the administration of justice in general, maintain a balance between the protection of individual liberties and the protection of society from the crime of corruption.


Lawyers, both individually and collectively, must fight the canker worm, corruption, and restore the traditional image of the legal profession. Legal practitioners must report erring members of the profession to the Legal Practitioners’ Disciplinary Committee. The Legal Practitioners’ Disciplinary Committee, in turn, should be more efficient in dealing with corrupt and other unprofessional behaviour and practices of legal practitioners, to ensure that the dignity and reputation of the profession is jealously protected.


The judiciary is the apex of the legal profession. The quintessence of its role is the unbiased dispensation of justice, not only between two rival citizens, but also between the State and her citizens. Judicial officers must do their best to engender confidence in their performance of this largely essential function. While exercising their discretionary powers, judicial officers should, in the interest justice and the renewed fight against corruption, resist any application that is capable of creating the impression in the estimation of the public, that its authority is being used to shield criminality in general and corruption in particular.

Judicial officers should also bear in mind the statement by Hon. Justice Niki Tobi, that:

A judge who takes bribe is not only a criminal who should be prosecuted, he is also a sinner who is for eternal condemnation…The Bench is not a place to make money, it is a place to make a name[253].  

The erosion of peoples’ confidence in the judiciary’s capacity to give impartial and dispassionate judgments will certainly lead to anarchy and the obliteration of the rule of law in the society. The bad eggs in the judiciary have to be flushed out. Nobody should be above the law, and anybody found guilty of corrupt practices within the Legal Profession in general, should be tried and the appropriate punishment meted out.

The salary structure and conditions of service for the judicial staff and other public officers in Nigeria has always been poor when compared to that of their counterparts in developed countries. Except in a few States, like Lagos State, where the salaries of judicial officers were enhanced, some other States still pay their judicial officers, especially those of the lower bench, salaries that are not befitting of their status. Justice Akanbi had cause to comment:

Quite often, a poorly paid judge stands the risk of becoming an endangered specie and is likely to fall foul of the standards expected of him as a judge.[254]


The saying above is not limited to judges alone. Any public officer involved in criminal justice administration, who is poorly paid, is equally in jeopardy of requesting for, and receiving gratification from people who come before him, for him to perform a duty entrusted lawfully to him, in a manner that would be pleasant to the benefactor. These officers need to be assured that they do not retire to penury. They need to have enough pay that would guarantee their children’s education to any level or institution they desire. Once they are assured that their salaries can take up their major responsibilities, if not all, it is only then that the government would have the moral right to fight the corrupt officers


Members of the Legal Profession should perceive themselves as beacons of uprightness. They should eschew any act that tends towards corruption. A lawyer worth his salt should counsel his clients against illegal acts, and that includes bribery and corruption. Members of the Legal Profession, must at all times, maintain the noble ethics of the profession, and bear in mind that their commitment to law and justice must not only be absolute, but must be seen to be so.


The major agencies in the fight against corruption like the ICPC and the EFCC, should be diligent in the prosecution of cases and carry out thorough investigations so that any body arraigned before any court for corruption will not rely on any technicalities to escape the penalty. It is hoped that all cases pending in the various courts across the nation will be vigorously pursued to their logical conclusion. In doing this, they should strive to ensure that no person is made to face the harshness of criminal prosecutions unreasonably.  The need for collaboration among the various government institutions set up to fight corruption, cannot be over emphasised. Close co-operation is needed among these agencies. When the Police, the Code of Conduct Bureau, the Public Complaints Commission, the Nigerian Bar Association, the National Judicial Council, the legislature, the press or even members of the public receive reports or investigates any matter bothering on corruption, they should not hesitate to transmit the report to any of the two major agencies. This will boost the fight against corruption.


Ultimately, it is a fact that corruption among the members of the legal profession involved in criminal justice administration is a reflection of the endemic corruption in the Nigerian society. Members of the legal profession are drawn from the society, which is deeply embedded in corruption. Any meaningful fight against corruption in any area of our life, as a people, must of necessity, carry along the whole populace. This calls for a serious reorientation of our psyche and values. To this end, there has to be a general social reengineering of the psyche of the Nigerian populace to return to morals and discourage the orientation of honouring the rich without asking questions about the source of the wealth. The society should be re-socialized to appreciate integrity, probity, accountability and hard work. The criteria for National Honours in this Country should not be based on the positions or offices held, or how connected to the powers that be, by the recipients, but should be based on integrity and hard work. Men and women who have shunned corrupt practices should be honoured, instead of making them to look like fools.



[1] S. M. Lipset and G. S. Lenz, “Corruption, Culture and Markets”, in L. Harrison and S. Huntington (eds.), Culture Matters, (New York: Basic Books, 2000), p. 112.  Nigeria is not exempted from it. It has been posited that a high degree of corruption began to be noticed in Nigeria with the emergence of the colonial masters. This is contrary to the belief of most people that corruption is a largely African phenomenon. See UN Anti Corruption Day. Research Paper on the Fight Against Corruption, The Guardian, December 9, 2005, p. 68.

[2] http://world Assessedd on 23/3/2010.

[3] Ibid.

[4] See the United Nations Convention on Corruption, adopted by General Assembly Resolution 58/4 of 31 October 2003. The Convention seeks to strengthen international cooperation against corruption. To that effect, it establishes obligations of signing parties to adopt measures to prevent corruption, to criminalize a large number of corruption related crimes, and to generously cooperate with others in extradition matters and in the supply of technical and legal assistance in the international fight against corruption. It also established a mechanism, whereby the proceeds of corruption transferred abroad will be returned to the country of origin.

[5] See the Preamble to the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption, adopted in

Maputo, Mozambique, July 11, 2003.

[6] A. A. Adeyemi, “Corruption in Nigeria: A Criminological Perspective”, in A. Kalu and Y. Osibajo (eds.),

Perspectives on Corruption and Other Economic Crimes in Nigeria, (Lagos: Federal Ministry of Justice, 1991),

  1. 2.

[7] M.A. Ayoade, “Eradication of Corruption and other Economic Crimes Within the Administration of Justice-

(Problems and Prospects)”, in Perspectives on Corruption and other Economic Crimes in Nigeria ,ibid., p. 218.

[8] A. A. Adeyemi, mentions other likely reasons for the low reprtability of corruption to include: feelings of shame and scandal, as distinct from fear of prosecution; feelings of guilt, fear of reprisals, as well as lack of confidence in the system of administration of justice which may, itself, be ridden with corruption. See A. A. Adeyemi, “Corruption in Nigeria: A Criminological Perspective”, op .cit note 6, p. 2-3. See some other factors responsible for the low reportability in A. A. Adeyemi, “Corruption in Africa: A Case Study of Nigeria”, in T. M. Mushanga (ed.), Criminology in Africa, (Rome: UNICRI, 1992), p. 85.

[9] See note 121, infra.

[10] See the enabling Act, Cap. C 31, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

[11] See the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act, Cap E 1, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria  


[12] A. A. Adeyemi, “The Challenges of Administration of Justice in Nigeria for the Twenty-First Century”, in I. A. Umezulike and C. C. Nweze (eds.), Perspectives in Law and Justice, (Enugu: Fourth Dimension Publishing Company, 1996), p. 196.

[13] Non-lawyer policemen also prosecute cases at the Magistrate Courts.

[14] O. O. Akinkugbe, “The Role of Lawyers in the Society”, in T. O. Elias (ed.), Law and Social Change (Lagos: University of Lagos & Evans Bros. Ltd, 1972), p. 89.

[15] A. A. Adeyemi, “The Challenges of Administration of Justice in Nigeria for the Twenty-First Century”,

  1. Cit, note 13, p. 212.

16a The NJC recommended that Justice Iyabo Yerima of Oyo State and a former Acting Chief Judge of the state, Justice Afolabi Adeniran, be retired compulsorily for alleged recklessness, corruption, and judicial compromise. Available at: Assessed on 5/8/2011. Also in the same vein, the National Judicial Council disciplined a serving judge of the Zamfara State High Court, Justice Musa Anka, and sacked him from office after finding over an alleged demand of N200, 000 bribe from one Mr. Zubairu Abdulmalik in order to deliver judgement in his favour Available at: Assessed on 5/8/2011.

[16] Sunday Punch, August 7 2005, p. 52. In a reaction to the President’s statement, The Kayode Eso Society, urged the President to prove his allegations. Justice Ayoola also rose in defence of the judges, and said that there was no systemic corruption in the judiciary, stating that judges found guilty were less that 1 percent. Professor Abiola Ojo also disagreed with the president saying that the President spoke out of desperation, and that the few cases the President used to brand the judiciary as corrupt are not fair to the judiciary. See The Punch, September 13, 2005, p. 9.

[17] I. A. Ayua, “Overview of Corruption in Nigeria”, being a paper presented at the National Conference on the Problems of Corruption in Nigeria, held in Abuja, in March 2001, p. 15.

[18]A. A. Adeyemi, “The Impact of Corruption in the Administration of Justice in Nigeria”, in I. A. Ayua and  D. A. Guobadia (eds.) Political Reform and Economic Recovery in Nigeria, (Lagos: Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, 2001), pp. 692-695.

[19] G. E. Rush, Dictionary of Criminal Justice, (Boston: Holbrook Press Inc., 6th ed. 1997), p. 36.

[20] D. A. Ijalaye, “The Legal Profession and the Third Republic”, an address delivered on the occasion of the 1991 Annual Bar Conference, held at Owerri, Imo State, p. 2.

[21] By the provision of section 24 of the Legal Practitioners Act, Cap. L. 11,Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, legal practitioner means, a person entitled in accordance with the provisions of the Act to practice as barrister or as barrister and solicitor either generally or for the purpose of any particular office or proceedings.

[22] O., Agbakoba, “The Role of Lawyers and the Observance of Human Rights”, in (1995) JHRLP, Vol. 5, No. 1. pp. 115- 150, at p. 21.

[23] M. A. Adesanya, Proceedings of the Conference of the Nigerian Association of Law Teachers, March 1967, p. 22, in O. O. Akinkugbe, op. cit,  note 15, p. 89.

[24] T., Ospitan and O., Oyewo, “Legal and Institutional Framework for Combating Corruption”, in E. O. Akanki (ed.), Unilag Readings in Law, (Lagos: Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, 1999), p. 258.

[25] A. S. Hornby, Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, (Oxford University Press, 6th ed., 2000). P.261.

[26] Section 98, Cap. C 38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

[27] The Criminal Code states that: Any person who- (1) being employed in the Public service, and being charged with the performance of any duty by virtue of such employment, not being a duty touching the administration of justice, corruptly asks, receives, or obtains, or agrees or attempts to receive or obtain any property or benefit of any kind for himself or any person on account of any thing already done or omitted to be done, or to be afterwards done or omitted to be done, by him in the discharge of the duties of his office; or  (2) corruptly gives, confers, or procures, or promises or offers to give or confer, or to procure or attempt to procure, to upon, or  for, any person employed in the public service, or to, upon or for, any kind on account of any such act or omission on the part of the person so employed, is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for seven years.        

28a (1951) 20 NLR 30.

[28] A. A. Adeyemi, “The Impact of Corruption on the Administration of Justice in Nigeria”, op. cit, note 19,


[29] O. Otite, “On the Sociological Study of Corruption in Nigeria”, in F. Odekunle (Ed.),  Nigeria, Corruption in Development (Ibadan University Press, 1982), P. 2.,

[30] Helping Countries Combat Corruption: The Role of the World Bank, (World Bank, 1997), in I. A. Ayua, Overview of Corruption in Nigeria, Being a Paper Presented at the National Conference on the Problems of Corruption in Nigeria, held in Abuja from 26-29 March, 2001,p. 11.

[31] Y. B., Usman, “Some Observations on the Problem of Corruption in Nigeria from a Historical Perspective” being a contribution to the National Conference on the Problems of Corruption in Nigeria, Organized by the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Abuja, 26-29 March 2001,p. 2.

[32] Cap. C 31 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, Ibid. Article 5 of the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption op. cit, note 5, lists the scope of acts of corruption and related offences.

[33] See section 7, CPROA.

[34] T., Osipitan and O., Oyewo, op. cit. note 25, p. 260

[35] See T., Osipitan, “The Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000-The Role of NYSC and effects on National Development”, in The Guardian, November 6, 2001, p. 87.

[36] M., Akanbi, “The Fight Against Corruption in Governance”, This Day Newspaper, April 16, 2001, p. 33.

[37] Per Uwaifo JSC, quoted in B., Akinyemi, State of the Judiciary and Legal System, in The Punch, October 31, 2005, p. 63. Also quoted in I., Anaba and W., Abdulah, “Lawyers Rise Against Corruption”, posted on the web on January 28, 2005, available at Assessed on 12/2/2010

[38] Constitution of the Federation of Nigeria Promulgation Act, Cap.C 23 Laws o f the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

[39] Section 6 (6) (b), 1999 Constitution, ibid. The Magistrate Court Laws of the various States provide for the jurisdiction of the magistrates as regards criminal offences. The Federal High Court, the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, High Court of a State are also charged with the responsibility of determining any criminal proceeding involving or relating to any penalty, forfeiture, punishment or other liability in respect of an offence committed by any person, ibid, sections 251 (3), 257, and 272 respectively. The Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, also exercise appellate jurisdictions in respect of appeals on decisions in criminal proceedings, Ibid, sections 241 (c) and 233 (2) respectively

[40] See section 318 of the Constitution, ibid..

[41] See the Preamble to the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers. Section 1 of the Criminal Code, defines the term judicial officer to include the Chief judge and a Judge of a High Court, a magistrate, the President and Justices of the Court of Appeal, the Chief Judge and Judges of the Federal High Court, the Chief Justice of Nigeria and a Justice of the Supreme Court, and such other persons engaged in any judicial act or proceeding or inquiry. The Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act (No 84) of 1966, repealed some sections of the Criminal Code, and extended the definition of Judicial Officer to include, (a) a member of the Customary Court; (b) a member of a Juvenile Court; (c) an arbitrator, umpire or referee; (d) a person called upon to serve as an assessor in any civil or criminal proceedings; (e) a member of a jury (f) a member of a tribunal of inquiry constituted under the Tribunals of Inquiry Act; and (g) any person before whom, under any law in force in Nigeria or any part thereof, there may be held proceedings in which evidence may be taken on oath.

[42] N., Tobi, “Code of Conduct and Professional Ethics for Judicial Officers in Nigeria”, in J. O. Irukwu and I. A. Umezulike (eds.), Judicial Excellence: Essays in Honour of Hon. Justice Anthony I. Iguh, (Enugu: Snapp Press Ltd., 2004), pp. 37-84, at p. 39.

[43] Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, (CPROA), 2000.

[44] (CPROA), 2000, ibid.

[45] The Constitution did not define the term public officer but gives an elaborate definition of the term public service. It includes service by a member of staff of all the courts established for the Federation and the States by the National Assembly and the Sate Houses Assemblies respectively. See Part IV, section 318 of the Constitution.

[46] E. F. Fadayomi, “Eradicating Corruption and Other Economic Crimes Within the Administration of Justice System”, in Perspectives on Corruption and Other Economic Crimes in Nigeria, (Lagos: Federal Ministry of Justice, 1991), op. cit. note 6, p. 207.

[47] See Uso v. Commissioner of Police (1972) 11 SC 37, Okoduwa & Ors v. The State, (1988) 4SC 110.

[48] Cap. E14 Laws o f the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

[49] Justice For Sale, (Civil Liberties Organization, 1996), p. 66.

[50] A. A. Adeyemi, “The Challenge of Administration of Justice in Nigeria  for the Twenty First Century”, in I.  A. Umezulike and C. C. Nweze (Eds.), Perspectives in Law and Justice, op. cit, note 13, p. 202.

[51] A. A. Adeyemi, “The Challenge of Administration of Justice in Nigeria for the Twenty First Century”,

  1. cit. note 13, p. 203.

[52] The Comet, February 14, 2002, p.1. See also The Punch, March 8, 2002, p. 55.

[53] See Saturday Punch, August 13, 2005,p. 12.

[54] See the case of Mr. Moses Odiri, a lawyer, who made allegations of corruption against the former Chief

Justice of Nigeria, Justice Uwais and other Supreme Court Judges. See The Punch, August 11, 2005, p. 6

[55] The News Magazine, August 30, 1999, pp. 14-23

[56] The Punch, October 30, 2002, p. 14.

[57] Ibid. See The Punch, October 31,2002, pp. 1-2.  

[58] Hon. Justice Emmanuel Ayoola replaced Hon. Justice Akanbi as the Chairman of the

Commission after Justice Akanbi retired at the expiration of his term of office.

[59] Infra, note 88, pp. 11-12.

[60] The Daily Sun Newspaper reported that the President approved the dismissal of two Court of Appeal Justices, Okechukwu Opene and D. A. Adeniji, as recommended by the National Judicial Council for accepting bribes running into millions of naira. See Daily Sun, May 23, 2005, p. 9. Five judges, members of Election Tribunal, who were implicated in the 2003 election petition  in Akwa Ibom State, against the re-election of Governor Victor Attah by Ime Umanah, candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, Matilda Adamu, a judge of the High Court of Plateau State, Christopher P.N. Senlong of the Federal High Court, Lagos, and James Isede, a Chief Magistrate in the Edo State judiciary, were dismissed from the judiciary, while D. T. Ahura of the High Court of Plateau State and A. M. Elelegwu of the Customary Court of Appeal, Delta State, were recommended for suspension. See Wola Adeyemo, “The Rot in the Temple of Justice” available at:…/The-Rot-in-the-Temple-of-Justice -Acessed on 5/8/2011.

[61] See This Day, June 22, 2005, pp. 1 and 6. See The Comet Newspaper, June 22, 2005, p. 36.  See also I., Ige and I., Anaba, at Assessed on 3/7/2005

[62] A. A. Adeyemi, “The Impact of Corruption on the Administration of Justice in Nigeria”, op. cit. note 19, p. 687.

[63] A. A. Adeyemi, “The Impact of Corruption on the Administration of Justice in Nigeria”, op. cit. note 19  

  1. 687.

[64] Akanbi, M., “How a Governor Attempted to Bribe Me with N 10 million”, Sunday Punch, August 21,

2005,pp. 16-17.

[65] Ibid.

[66] For instance, a magistrate cannot grant bail in capital offences.

[67] A. A. Adeyemi, “The Impact of Corruption on the Administration of Justice in Nigeria”, op. cit. note 19

  1. 688.

[68] A. A. Adeyemi, “The Challenges of Administration of Justice in Nigeria for Twenty-First Century”, op. cit. note 13, p. 202.  A. A. Adeyemi also observed as follows: “The practice has degenerated to the point that the police go out to look for suspected persons and sometimes, prostitutes and they charge these to court, usually on a Friday. Those accused persons who can pay the amount demanded by this corruption gang are released on bail and often, the case is allowed to die for want of prosecution. Those who cannot pay the amount demanded are then remanded in prison custody, to come back in one or two weeks for mention. If they do not pay then, the court then begins a longer spaced out continual remand in prison custody for a long time until such a time that they are forgotten in prison without any trial”. See A. A. Adeyemi,”The Impact of Corruption on the Administration of Justice in Nigeria”, op. cit. note 19, p. 688.

[69] See F., Adejuyigbe, “Are Magistrates Really Corrupt?” in This Day Newspaper, June 4, 2005, p. 39.

[70] Ibid.

[71] The parties in criminal prosecutions are usually: the prosecutor representing the State, the complainant or the victim on one side, and the accused person and his counsel on the other side.

[72] See A. A. Adeyemi, “The Impact of Corruption on the Administration of Justice in Nigeria”, op. cit. note 19, pp. 688-689,

[73] See B., Akinyemi, “State of the Judiciary and Legal System”, in The Punch, October 31, 2005, p. 63.

[74] A. A. Adeyemi, “The Impact of Corruption in the Administration of Justice in Nigeria”, ibid, p. 689

[75] A., Oyebode, “The Judiciary and Constitutionalism in a Democratic Society” in A., Oyebode (ed.), Law and Nation-Building in Nigeria, (Lagos: Centre for Political and Administrative Research, 2005, p. 119.

[76] Ibid, p. 124.

[77] Aguda, “The Crisis of Justice”, in A., Oyebode, The Judiciary, Corruption and Democratisation, in A., Oyebode (ed.), Law and Nation-Building in Nigeria. Op. cit. note 76, p.156.

[78] Osipitan T., “Safeguarding Judicial Independence under the 1999 Constitution”, in The Pursuit of Justice and Development, Essays in Honour of Justice M. O. Onalaja, (Lagos: Diamond Publications, 2004).

See also T., Rahman, L., Achi, J., Ushigiale, and O., Epia, “No Longer Business as Usual”, in This Day, The Sunday Newspaper, March 27, 2005, p. 35.

[79] See the Holy Bible, King James Version,  Deuteronomy, Ch. 16, vss 18 and 19.

[80] The Punch, September 13, 2005, op. cit., note 17, p. 9.

[81] See O. O. Akinkugbe, op. cit. note 15, pp. 92-3

[82] Quoted in H. J. Abraham, The Judicial Process 3 (Third ed., 1975), in A., Oyebode, “Is the Judiciary Still the Last Hope of the Common Man”, in A., Oyebode (Ed.), Law and Nation-Building in Nigeria, ibid, p. 130.

[83] Rule 2 (B) (4) of the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers.

[84] Tunde Rahman, op. cit. note 79, p. 33.

[85] Ibid.

[86] A. A. Adeyemi, “Corruption in Nigeria: A Criminological Perspective”, op.cit. note 6, p.3

[87]Mustapha Akanbi JCA “The Main Obstacles of Justice According to Law”, in Justice I. M. Saulwa, “Congestion of cases in the Nigerian Courts: Problems and Solutions”, being a paper presented at the Common -Wealth Legal Education Association Conference, held at Abuja, in November 2000, p. 7

[88] Z. C. Eresha and O. A Ogunseye, “The Judiciary Under the Present Democratic Dispensation”, paper presented at the 2000 Law Teachers Conference, held at Benue State University, Makurdi. p. 27.

[89] The British Department for International Development (DFID), and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, in close collaboration with Transparency International, (TI), organized four meetings of Chief Justices from common and civil law countries, supporting them in their endeavour to identify and apply best practices in strengthening judicial integrity and capacity.

[90] Available at: http// Assessed on 11/8/2009

[91] This was submitted to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights at its 59th Session in 2003.

[92] The project is part of a larger international judicial reform initiative guided by an international Judicial Group on Strengthening Judicial Integrity, formed in April 2000 by the Chief Judges of Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa, Nigeria, etc. Nigeria, Uganda and Sri Lanka volunteered to pilot test some of the identified reform measures. The projects were primarily supported by the UNODC, the USAID funded National Centre for State Courts, the DFID funded British Council, and the German Agency for Development Cooperation, (GTZ). These agencies supported the implementation of the project in eight Nigerian States, namely, Benue, Borno, Delta, Ekiti, Enugu, Jigawa, Kaduna and Lagos, and Abuja (FCT) .Available at:

[93] Ibid.

[94] Cap. P. 19 Laws of the Federation 2004

[95] (1988) 11NWLR, (pt. 575), p. 557.  In that case, the appellant, being the Accountant-General of the Federation, was charged with some other persons for the offence of stealing. The appellant was initially charged to the Magistrate Court .The appellant appealed to the High Court against a ruling of the court on the refusal by the police to supply him with the proofs of evidence. At the High Court, the appellant objected to the right of Mr. S.G Ehindero, then a Commissioner of Police to represent the State in the High Court. The High Court in Abuja, ruled that he had the right to represent the state at the court. The matter went to the Court of Appeal and the issue for consideration was whether a police officer that is also a legal practitioner could represent the State in the High Court. The court held, inter alia, that by the provisions of section 23 of the Police Act, the police officer may conduct in person all prosecutions before any court in Nigeria, but that the power to conduct such prosecutions is subject to the provisions of sections 160 and 191 of the 1979 Constitution (Now sections 174 and 211 of the 1999 Constitution. (Now sections 174 and 211 of the 1999 Constitution).

[96] These sections deal with the powers of the Attorney-General to prosecute offences. See also Osabon v. Federation of Nigeria (2003) 43 WRN, p. 69.  

[97] Sections 174 and 211 of the Constitution, for Federal and State functionaries respectively. See Olusemo v. Commissioner of Police supra.

[98] For instance, in bail applications.

[99] Sections 174 (c) and 211 (c)

[100] Cap. C 41 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

[101] See Attorney-General of Kaduna State v. Hassan, (1985) 2 NWLR (Pt 8) 483 and State v. Chukwurah &

      Ors. (1964) NMLR 64.

[102] L., Okenwa, “Why ICPC Appears Helpless”, This Day, The Sunday Newspaper, March 27, 2005, p. 34.

[103] See O., Doherty, “Criminal Procedure in Nigeria; Law and Practice”, (London: Blackstone Press Ltd.,

1990), p. 61.

[104] B., Ajibola, “The Federal Attorney-General: Powers, Duties and the Administration of Law”, in M. A.

Ajomo (ed.), Fundamentals of Nigerian Law, (Lagos: Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies,

1989), p. 31.

[105] In the case of State v. S.O.Ilori, (1983), 1 SCNLR 94, Eso JSC declared that the Attorney-General has

unquestionable discretion in the exercise of the powers of nolle prosequi, which is of Common Law

origin, and has the backing of the Constitution.

[106] See the concurring opinions of Eso JSC and Aniagolu JSC in State v. Ilori, ibid, at p. 111.

[107] In recognition of the enormity of this power, which had been subjected to abuses in the past, the Constitution Review Committee, provided that the power of discontinuance of criminal proceedings shall only be with the leave of Court, (section 171 (2)). The Body of Attorneys-General sternly opposed this. Part of the reasons contained in the opposing memorandum, include, that the power to enter a nolle Prosequi is not subjected to the control of the judiciary in all the Commonwealth countries, and that vesting the judiciary with the power to intervene or decide whether or not a nolle prosequi should be entered, is to ask the judiciary to descend into the arena and adjudicate on a case, which is being asserted is not ripe for adjudication or should not be adjudicated upon at all. See Bola Ajibola, op. cit. note 105, pp. 33-35. It is for the Attorney-General, not the courts to determine whether he ought to initiate, continue or discontinue the litigation. See the dictum of Lord Halsbury, in London County Council v. Attorney-General, (1902) AC 165, at pp. 167-168. The Attorney-General remains unlike the judges, responsible to the parliament for the exercise of his powers. As a member of the executive and the Chief Law Officer of the crown, he is responsible to parliament for the manner in which he discharges the discretionary powers inherent in his office. See also, J. L. Edwards, Law officers of the crown, (London: Sweet & Maxwell, 1964), p.227.

[108] The Criminal Code, Cap. C 38, ibid and the Penal Code, Cap P. 3, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, restricted the parties to the offence of corruption to public officers.

[109] T., Osipitan and O, Oyewo, op. cit. note 25 p. 266.

[110] D. A. Guobadia, “Corruption in Trade and Business including Oil”, paper Presented at the National Conference on the Problems of Corruption in Nigeria, held in Abuja, from 26th-29th March, 2001, p.2

[111] See A. A. Adeyemi, “An Appraisal of Corrupt Practices Decree, No. 3d of 1975”. Paper delivered at the Valedictory Evaluation Workshop on the Role of the Corrupt Practices Investigating Bureau, under a Presidential System, p. 6.

[112]The Rules of Professional Conduct in the Legal Profession. The Rules were made by the

General Council of the Bar at its General Meeting in 1967, 1979 and also amended in 2007

[113] T., Fagbohungbe, “Wanted: Lawyers with Social Conscience”, in The Guardian, December 23, 2003,p.


[114] Quoted by D. A. Ijalaye, op. cit, note 21, p. 21.

[115] See O., Achike, “How Lawyers Delay Justice” in Law Fair Magazine, vol. 4, No. 13, July/ August,

1996,  pp. 15-16.

[116] For instance, the trial of Lt. Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi, Al Mustapha and others, have been delayed by

series of applications filed by counsel for the accused persons. The accused persons also petitioned the

National Judicial Council, alleging that Justice Alabi demanded the sum of $10 million as bribe

money from them. This allegation was investigated and found to be false by the Babalakin

Committee. See The Punch, August 26, 2004,p. 49.

[117] D. A.  Ijalaye, “The Bench and the Bar and the Rule of Law Under the Military Regime in Nigeria”,

Justice Journal, April 1991 p. 115.

[118] Ibid.                                       

[119] K., Eso, “Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission Act 2000- Legal Implications

and Solutions”, a paper presented at a seminar on Corruption and National Rebirth, held at Abuja, on

January 20, 2001.

[120] They include the Obasanjo Administration’s Jaji Declaration in 1977; Shagari Administration’s    

      Code  of Conduct Bureau/ Code of Conduct Tribunal and Ethical Revolution (1981-1983); the

Buhari/Idiagbon Administration’s War Against Indiscipline, (WAI) (1984); the Babangida

Administration’s Mass Mobilization for Social Justice and Economic Recovery, (MAMSER) (1987)

and Abacha Administration’s War Against Indiscipline and Corruption (1996). See http://www.   

[121] M., Akanbi, “The Fight Against Corruption in Governance”, This Day, April 16, 2001, p. 33.

[122] See T., Osipitan, “The Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000-The Role of NYSC and

effects on National Development”, in The Guardian, November 6, 2001, p. 87.

[123] See section 1 (c) of the Act, ibid.

[124] See Recovery of Public Property (Special Provisions) Act, Cap. R 4, Laws of the Federation of

      Nigeria, 2004.  

[125] See Cap. N 64 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.  

[126] Cap. C 38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

[127] Cap. 89 Laws of Northern Nigeria, 1963.

[128] See A. A. Adeyemi, “Corruption in Africa: A Case Study of Nigeria”, op.cit, note 8, p. 83.

[129] See C. O. Okonkwo, “Legal and Institutional Mechanisms Against Corruption in Nigeria”, paper

presented at the National Conference on the Problems of Corruption in Nigeria,  held in Abuja, 26th

29th March, 2001, p. 2

[130] (1958) N.R.N.L.R, 123.

[131] No. 84 of 1966.

[132] See sections 98, 114 and 116 ibid.

[133] See M. A. Ayoade, op. cit. note 7, p. 217.

[134] See sections 10, 11, & 55 of the Criminal Procedure Act; Cap. C 41 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004; sections 4, 19 & 20 of the Police Act, Cap. P. 19 Laws of the Federation 2004, ibid. See also Article 1 of the United Nations Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, (General Assembly Resolution, 34/ 169, of 17 December, 1979), which states that law enforcement officials at all times must fulfil the duty imposed upon them by law, by serving the community and by protecting all persons against illegal acts, consistent with the high degree of responsibility required by their profession.  See also the earlier discussion on police prosecutors.

[135]  See the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act No 10 of 2004, which repealed the Money Laundering and

(Prohibition) Act, 2003,  Cap. M 18 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

[136] See the Explanatory Memorandum to the Act, ibid.

[137] See M., Gidado, “Legal and Institutional Mechanisms Against Corruption” in Nigeria, paper presented

at the National Conference on the Problems of Corruption in Nigeria, 26-29 March 2001, pp. 10-11.

[138] See A. N. Ohanyere, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes in Nigeria (Lagos: Arthill Publishers,

2003), p. 45.

[139] Ibid.

[140] See article 14 of the U N Convention on Corruption,                                       

[141] See the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, No. 1 of 2004, which

repealed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act No. 5 of 2002, Cap E 1

     Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

[142] See the Explanatory Memorandum to the Act.

[143] See section 6 of the EFCC Act.

[144] Section 19 (1), ibid.

[145] Section 19 (2) (b), ibid.

[146] Section 19 (4), ibid.

[147] The Guardian, April 5, 2005,pp. 1-2 and The Punch, April 4, 2005, p. 1.

[148] See I . Ige, at

[149] The Punch, January 20, 2006, p. 9.

[150] Assessed on 12/2/2010.

[151] Cap. P 37 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, ibid.

[152] Section 1 of the Act, ibid.

[153] Section 5 (1), ibid. A Commissioner has power to investigate either on his own initiative, or following complaints lodged before him by any other person, any administrative action taken by:

  1. any Department or Ministry of the Federal or any State Government;
  2. any Department of any local government authority (howsoever designated) set up in any State in the Federation;
  3. any statutory corporation or public institution set up by any Government in Nigeria;

any company incorporated under or pursuant to the Companies and Allied mattes Act whether owned by any Government aforesaid or by private individuals in Nigeria or otherwise howsoever; or any officer or servant of any of the aforementioned bodies.

[154] See 5 (d) (i) – (vi)

[155] Sections 5 (d) (i) and 5 (e).

[156] T. Osipitan and O. Oyewo, op. cit. note 25, p. 275.

[157] See B. O. Nwabueze, Military Rule and Constitutionalism, (Ibadan: Spectrum, 1992), p. 161.

[158] Section 7, ibid.

[159] Section 9, ibid. Other offences bear similar penalties of N 500 and six months imprisonment.

[160] Section 6 (e) and (g), ibid. See A., Awah, Laws Response to Corruption, a paper presented at the Roundtable on Impact of Corruption on the Political Reform and Economic Recovery of Nigeria, held in Lagos, 30th and 31st March, 1999, p. 18

[161] The Public Complaints Commissioners have been described as nothing more than fat-salaried ombudsman at best; and unqualified social workers at worst. See F., Odekunle, “Controlling Indiscipline and Corruption in Nigeria: Fundamental and Short-Term Measures”, in Perspectives on Corruption and Other Economic Crimes in Nigeria, op. cit. note 6,  p. 21

[162] T., Osipitan and O., Oyewo, op. cit. note 25, p. 275.

[163] Cap. C 15 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004. Before the establishment of the Code of Conduct Bureau, the Gowon regime had promulgated the Public Officers (Investigation of Assets) Decree (No. 5) of 1966. It empowered the Head of State to require suspected public officers to declare their assets and competent persons were appointed to verify the declarations

[164] Suggestions were been made before the Act came into being, that it was better that such a Code of Conduct be dealt with by regular legislation, in order to ensure review and updating as and when necessary and to make room for a more detailed Code. See A. A. Adeyemi, “The Impact of Corruption in the Administration of Justice in Nigeria”, op. cit. note 19, p. 697-698.

[165] See section 1 of the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution.

[166] Ibid, section 10

[167] Section 10 (3), of the Act,

[168] Section 15, ibid. Note that section 11 of the Third Schedule, ibid, contains verbatim provision, but puts the age of the unmarried children to eighteen years. It is submitted that the Constitutional provision of twenty-one years should be the more appropriate age, since the Constitution is supreme to the Act.  .

[169] Cap C 15, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

[170] Section 2 of the Act.

[171] Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution, and section 3(d) and (e) ibid.

[172] See T. Osipitan and O., Oyewo, op. cit. note 25, p. 272.  Alex Gboyega also believes that the Code of Conduct Bureau seems to be much pre-occupied with the filling of assets declaration forms and pays little or no attention to verifying the truth or falsehood of the declarations or in investigating allegations of corruption. See A., Gboyega, “Long and Short Term Strategies For Eliminating Corruption in Nigeria”, in Political Reform and Economic Recovery in Nigeria, (Lagos: Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, 2001), p. 712.

[173] A., Gboyega, ibid, p. 715.

[174] See M. A. Ayoade, op. cit. note 7, p. 219. See also, T., Osipitan and O., Oyewo, op. cit. note 25, p. 272.

[175] See section 20 of the Act.

[176] Section 23 (4), ibid.

[177] L Okenwa, op. cit. note 103

[178] Governor Joshua Dariye of Plateau State was also summoned by the Code of Conduct Tribunal after

the Federal Government filed charges of operating foreign accounts and making false declarations

about his assets. The Governor failed to appear before the Tribunal sitting in Abuja. See L. Okenwa,


[179] Cap. C 31 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

[180] (2002) 9 NWLR, (Pt. 772) p.222

[181] The Senior Advocates consulted included: Professor Ben Nwabueze, Mr. Olisa Agbakoba and Chief

Afe Babalola,

[182] See S., Onayoade, Day of Reckoning Here for Corrupt Officials, in Saturday Punch, June 15, 2002,

  1. 16. See also, M. L. Uwais, The Evolution of Constitutionalism in Nigeria: The Role of the Supreme

     Court Under the 1979 and 1999 Constitution ( Lagos: Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies,

2006), p. 44-51.

[183] See also, section 9 (2) of the ICPC Act, which reproduces the provisions of section 8 (2). Section 53 (1)

– (4) is a mixed grill of offences with the reversal of the presumption of innocence and the burden of

proof. Such a presumption did not feature in the Criminal and Penal Codes. See C. O. Okonkwo, op. cit.

note 130, p. 11.

[184] Taiwo Osipitan and Oyelowo Oyewo had earlier on suggested that in cases of corruption, the presumption of innocence as well as the right to silence should be done away with. See T., Osipitan and O., Oyewo, ibid, p. 269. Section (6) (3) of the Recovery of Public Property (Special Military Tribunals) Decree, ibid, provides that the onus of proving at any trial that there was no enrichment contrary to the provisions of section 1 of the Decree shall lie upon the public officer or the person concerned.) Section 1 (2) of the Public Officers (Protection from False Accusations) Decree of 1984, on the other hand, places the burden of proving that any published statement, rumour or report alleging that a public officer has corruptly enriched himself or any other person is true on the accused person. See F., Odekunle, “Controlling Indiscipline and Corruption in Nigeria: Fundamental and Short-Term Measures”, in Perspectives on Corruption and Other Economic Crimes in Nigeria, op. cit. note 6, p. 22.

185a  See C. O. Okonkwo, op. cit. note 130.

[185] Section 36 (5) on presumption of innocence.

[186] See section 1 of the Constitution.

[187] Compare these provisions of the ICPC Act with section 19 (5) of the EFCC Act. This section, rather than presuming guilt, says that the fact that an accused person is in possession of pecuniary resources or property for which he cannot satisfactorily account …may be proved and taken into consideration by the Court as corroborating any evidence of any witness. This provision is milder and better than an outright presumption of guilt.

[188] Section 36(5) of the Constitution

[189] Equally, sections 43 and 44 (1) (c), ibid, requires that, upon a court order for the purpose of investigation into an offence under the Act, a banker or financial institution shall keep its books of accounts and other documents open for inspection by officers of the Commission.

[190] See D., Adekunle, “Legal and Institutional Mechanisms against Corruption in Nigeria”, paper presented

at the National Conference on the Problems of Corruption in Nigeria, held in Abuja from 26th – 29th

March 2001, p.  10

[191] Section 23, ibid, imposes a duty on any public officer to whom any gratification is given, promised, or

offered in contravention of any provision of this Act, to report such a gift, promise or offer together

with the name, if known, of he person making such offer to the nearest officer of the Commission or a

Police Officer.

[192] Cap. E 14 Laws o f the Federation of Nigeria, 2004. See D., Adekunle, op. cit  note 191,, p. 12.

[193] (1966) 1 ANLR, 223.

[194] Section 64 (1) of the ICPC Act, provides for the confidentiality of the identity of informants and the details of the information.

[195] See I., Sowunmi, “ICPC: Anti-graft War, My Vision, and the Challenge”, This Day, December 3, 2005, p. 49.

[196] The Punch, September 13, 2005, p. 9,

[197] See I., Sowunmi,  op. cit., note 196,  p. 48.

[198] See L., Okenwa, op. cit. note 103. Justice Akanbi said that the Commission is under funded, but that works with international agencies has helped the Commission a great deal. The Commission has only 26 investigators in a country with over 130 million people due to lack of funds.   

[199] See section 35 (4) of the Constitution and sections 17, 18, and 19 of the Criminal Procedure Act.  See also Article 9 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; Article 7 (1) (d) of the African Charter

[200] Cap. L 11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004,  

[201] New Rules were made in 2007.

[202] Infamous conduct has been defined by Lopes L. J in Allison V. General Council of Medical Education and Registration (1894), 1 Q. B. 750, to mean something with regard to the profession, which would be reasonably regarded as disgraceful or dishonourable by his professional brethren of good repute and competency. This definition was adopted by A. A. Adeyemi, in “Ethics in Legal Academia and the Profession” in I. A. Ayua and D. A. Guobadia (Eds.), Legal Education for the Twenty- First Century Nigeria, (Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, 2000), p. 209.


[204] Rule 1, ibid.

[205] A. A. Adeyemi, in Ethics in Legal Academia and the Profession, op. cit.. note 203,  pp. 205-208. Only the Nigerian Law School teaches a course on Professional Ethics presently.

[206] Section 10, Cap. L. 11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

[207] There could also be a direction requiring the refund of monies paid or the handing over of documents or

other things as the case may require. See section 11 (1), ibid.

[208] Section 11 (7), ibid.

[209] See sections 12 (3) and (5), ibid.

[210] Ibid. The directions are the same penalties available to the disciplinary Committee, already mentioned.

[211] See A. B. Bozimo, in The Guardian, December 2, 2003, p. 77.

[212] S., Preble, Judging Judges, (New York: Macmillan Publishers Co., 1981) p. 132.

[213] N., Tobi.,op. cit note 43, p. 37.

[214] The U.S.A. Code of Conduct was first proposed by the American Bar Association, and approved by the

American Judges Association.

[215] Preamble to the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers.

[216] Ibid.

[217] Cap C 38, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 200.

[218] Cap. 89 Laws of Northern Nigeria, 1963.

[219] This is set out in the Fifth Schedule to the 1999 Constitution.

[220] Cap. C 31 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004,

[221] Cap. M 18 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004

[222] Cap E 1 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004,

[223] Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers.

[224] Principle 4.14 of the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct, provides that a judge and members of his family shall neither ask nor accept any gift. (The Judicial Group on Strengthening Judicial Integrity, at its first meeting held in Vienna in April 2000, on the invitation of the UN Centre for International Crime Prevention and in conjunction with the 10th UN congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, recognised the need for a code against which the conduct of judicial officers may be measured.)

[225] Principle 4.15 of the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct foresees the possibility of the judge being     influenced by others outside his family, when it provided:

A judge shall not knowingly permit court staff or others subject to the judges influence, direction or authority, to ask for or accept any gifts, bequest, loan or favour in relation to anything done or to be done or omitted to be done in connection with his or her duties or functions.

[226] Section 153. See also, the Third Schedule, Part (I), of the 1999 Constitution.

[227] See Third Schedule, section 20, ibid, for the full composition of the Council.

[228] The Council also has power to recommend the appointment and removal of judicial officers of the

Superior Courts of the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT) Abuja. See section 21 of the Third Schedule

ibid, for the list of applicable offices. The Council recommends persons for appointment to and

removal from office on the advice of the Federal Judicial Service Commission, the State Judicial

Service Commission, the Judicial Service Committee of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. See

Third Schedule, Part 1, section 12; part II, section 5 and part III, section 2.

[229] See Francis Famoroti, Tobi Soniyi and Rotimi Fadeyi, “NJC Set to Name Errant Judges”, in The

     Punch, September 25, 2002, p. 56.

[230] See Angela Nwankwo, “Between Justice Ade-Alabi and his Accusers”, in Daily Times, November 6,

2002, p.22.

[231] The petition dated November 18, 2005, was written by Mr. Olalekan Ojo, a lawyer to Mr. Fred

Ajudua, who is standing trial before Justice Oyewole for allegedly obtaining money by false pretence

from a German Mr. Remmy Cima. Mr. Ojo accused Justice Oyewole of judicial misconduct for

allegedly accepting a training tour to South Africa, which was sponsored by the European Union and

allegedly facilitated by the EFCC. He added that since the victim of the alleged fraud was a European,

the judge might be biased in his favour against the interest of his client. The Secretary to the NJC,

Mr. Danladi Haliru, said the petition was a grave misconception and that there was no basis

whatsoever for it. See The Punch, February 27, 2006, p. 7.

[232] See U. N Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, posted on 2 September

2005, available at on 3/5/2009

[233] Ibid.

[234] See The Punch, September 27, 2002.

[235] See The Punch, October 30, 2002, p. 14.

[236] See Gani Fawehinmi, “The Role of Election Tribunals” published on May 2, 2007, available at


[237] Section 88 (2), of the 1999 Constitution.

[238] Senator Arthur Nzeribe in November 2002, alleged that through the help of the Deputy Senate

President, Ibrahim Mantu, the sum of N300 million was distributed to senators at N3 million each for

purposes of entering a resolution, to dissociate themselves from any talk or action on the impeachment

of President Olusegun Obasanjo. See The Comet, November 10, 2002, p.26.

[239] See The Comet, September 10, 2002,p.3.

[240] See This Day, March 25, 2005, p. 32. See also the confession of Senator Adighije, in “How We Shared N55 Million,” in The Guardian, April 7, 2005, pp. 1-2. Last year also, the Minister for Federal Capital Territory, Mallam El Rufai, alleged that some members of the senate demanded bribe of N50 million from him, in order to approve his appointment as Minister. A committee was set up to investigate the matter, but the committee returned a verdict of not guilty for the Senators, while Mallam El. Rufai was made to apologize to the legislators.

[241] See the Punch, April 13, 2006, pp. 1-2, where the Leader of the Alliance for Democracy in the House, Mr. Wunmi Bewaji confirmed the allegation. He also disclosed that in addition to the $ 1 million, he was also promised an oil bloc.

[242] Available at: Assessed on 13/9/2009.

[243] Available at: Assessed on 5/8/2011.

[244] Article 12 (1) & (2). The Preamble to the AU Convention Against Corruption called for a determination to build partnerships between governments and all segments of civil society, in particular woman, youth, media and the private sector in order to fight the scourge of corruption.

[245] Ibid.

[246] United Kingdom’s Royal Commission, 1977, paras 22 & 23, in T., Osipitan and O. Oyewo, op. cit. note

25, p. 276.

[247] Ibid. The State Security (Detention of Persons) Decree No. 2 of 1984, as amended by Decree No. 12 of 1986, and also amended by Decree No. 33 of 1988, authorized the Chief of General Staff or the Inspector General of Police to order the detention of any person who is concerned with acts prejudicial to State Security.  The State Security (Detention of Persons) Decree No. 3 of 1990 amended the Decree. The amendment reduced the detention period from six months to thirty days and provided for a Review Committee, which was lacking in the previous Decree. See section 2 of Decree No. 3 of 1990.

[248] See the dictum of Adefarasin C. J., in Guardian Newspaper Ltd. v. Attorney General of the Federation, suit No. M/139/84 of 26 July 1989.

[249] See The Punch, June 15, 2006. Two journalists, Gbenga Aruleba of Daar Communications and Rotimi Durojaiye of Daily Independent Newspapers were both charged along with their companies, with conspiracy and sedition. They were both refused bail on June 27, 2006 by Justice Babs Kuewumi of the Federal High Court, Abuja. See The Guardian, June 28, 2006,p. 1.

[250] Y.,Osibajo and K., Fogam, Nigerian Media Law, (Lagos: Gravitas Publishments, 1991), p. 21

[251] Article 9 of the A. U. Convention on Corruption, provides for States Parties to ensure that unhindered access is assured to investigative parties including journalists to do their work in the interest of society without hindrance or intimidation from any quarter.

[252] A, Akinwunmi, “Freedom of Information in Nigeria’s Political Space: Implications For National Security”, Paper Presented at A Roundtable on Press Freedom And National Security, Organized by Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, on 29th June, 2011.

[253] The statement was made by Hon. Justice Niki Tobi, then a Judge of the Court of Appeal, in a public lecture in 1977. Quoted in Segun Adediran, “Judiciary, Corruption and Democracy”, in The Punch, June 4, 2002,p. 15.

[254] Akanbi, “The Main Obstacles of Justice According to Law”, op.cit. note 88.

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