The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) says it is appalled and outraged by the alleged blatant nepotism and conflict of interest in the appointment of 23 judges of the Federal High Court by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, reports News Express.
Ariwoola is also the chairman of the National Judicial Council (NJC), the authority that recommends those to be appointed judges.
“It has come to our notice that among the 23 judges to be sworn in by the CJN on Wednesday, October 4, 2023, is his own son, Ariwoola Olukayode Jnr., who hails from Oyo State. This is a clear violation of the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers, which states that “a Judicial Officer must avoid nepotism and favouritism” and that “a Judicial Officer shall not allow the family, social or other relationships to influence his judicial conduct or judgement,” HURIWA said in a statement on Monday, October 2, 2023.
The statement which was signed by HURIWA’ National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, further reads: “This is also a gross affront to the principle of meritocracy and fairness in the judicial system, which is supposed to uphold the rule of law and protect the rights of all Nigerians.
“How can we trust the impartiality and integrity of a judge who owes his appointment to his father’s influence and not to his competence and experience? How can we expect justice from a judiciary that is riddled with nepotism and cronyism at the highest level?”
“HURIWA hereby calls on the CJN to immediately rescind the appointment of his son as a judge of the Federal High Court and to apologize to the Nigerian people for this shameful act of nepotism.
“We also urge the NJC to review its processes and criteria for recommending judicial officers and to ensure that only those who are qualified, competent and independent are appointed to the bench,” the statement added.
They group further called on the civil society, the media and all patriotic Nigerians to speak out against this outrageous attack on the integrity of the judiciary, “which is blighted by ethical deficit and deficiency of credibility and public trust.”
“We must not allow nepotism and corruption to destroy our democracy and our human rights,” HURIWA advised.