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Group Protests Alleged Abuse Of Office By CJN, Calls For His Resignation

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A civil rights group, Civil Society Consortium on Judicial Accountability (CSCJA), Tuesday, embarked on a protest over alleged abuse of office and favouritism by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola.

According to the group, the CJN breached Rule 11 (iv) and other extant provisions of the Revised Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers, when he appointed his son, Olukayode Ariwoola Jr as a Judge of the Federal High Court and nominated his daughter, Oluwakemi Victoria Ariwoola as a Judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court.

The group, during the protest in Abuja on Thursday demanded the immediate resignation of the CJN in order to maintain the integrity of the judicial system.

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The group members, who carried placards with various inscriptions such as, ‘CJN should resign now', ‘Stop Judicial Rascality', ‘Say No To Nepotism', and ‘Judicial Accountability is a Must', alleged that the CJN conferred undue advantages on his family members through his position as chairman of the National Judicial Council (NJC), chairman of the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC), amongst others.

The protesters told journalists in Abuja that their demand for the resignation of the CJN underscored the importance of judicial accountability and impartiality in maintaining the integrity and trustworthiness of the legal system.

According to the coordinator of the group, Mr Martin Obono, the CJN presided over the 103rd meeting of the NJC that recommended Olukayode Ariwoola Jr. for appointment as a Judge of the Federal High Court.

“The National Judicial Council was notified by a letter dated January 18, 2024, of the recommendation for the appointment of Oluwakemi Victoria Ariwoola to the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory. Oluwakemi Victoria Ariwoola is the daughter of Justice Olukayode Ariwoola who still Chairs the National Judicial Council.

“The CJN's appointments have raised serious concerns about potential conflicts of interest and the erosion of public confidence in the judiciary. More importantly, the violation of Rule 11 (iv) of the Code of Conducts for Judicial Officers in Nigeria which states that, “in the exercise of his administrative duties, a Judicial Officer should avoid nepotism and favouritism,” he added.

While emphasiSing that the legal system must uphold the highest ethical standards to ensure that all citizens receive fair and equitable treatment under the law, the group argued that nepotism in judicial appointments not only violates principles but also threatens to weaken the rule of law in Nigeria.

Consequently, they urged the CJN to take immediate responsibility for his actions and resign from his position, adding that the step was necessary to restore public confidence in the judiciary and demonstrate a commitment to ethical governance.

Obono maintained that, “It is imperative that the judiciary remains free from personal bias and favouritism to safeguard the principles of justice.”

Meanwhile, the group has called for an independent inquiry into the allegations of nepotism and favouritism against the CJN.

“We therefore request that: An independent inquiry into the appointment of Olukayode Ariwoola Jr. and nomination of Oluwakemi Victoria Ariwoola be conducted to determine whether there were other suitably qualified persons nominated.

“In line with the age-old judicial maxim nemo judex in causa sua, that Justice Olukayode Ariwoola be asked to recuse himself as Chairman of the National Judicial Council pending the determination of the investigation.

“That the investigation be conducted and concluded within the shortest possible time and the results of the investigation be made available to the Petitioners and the Public.

“That if Justice Olukayode Ariwoola is found to have breached the Code of Conduct, appropriate disciplinary measures be meted against him,” they stated.


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