EFCC, lawyer react to appeal court ruling barring agency from prosecuting sitting judge

EFCC, lawyer react to appeal court ruling barring agency from prosecuting sitting judge

- The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it is not satisfied with a ruling stopping it from prosecuting sitting judges

- The commission declares it would appeal the ruling at the Supreme Court

- A human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, describes the ruling as a dark period in the Nigerian judiciary

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has revealed it would appeal the ruling of an appeal court barring it from prosecuting alleged corrupt judges in the country.

A Lagos lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, also described the ruling by the appeal court sitting in Lagos as saddening just as the EFCC said it is a dangerous precedent.

The appeal court sitting in Lagos had said the EFCC had no power to prosecute sitting judges until they are sacked by the National Judicial Commission (NJC).

“The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is to appeal against the ruling of the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal, which today held that the agency lacked powers to investigate or prosecute serving judicial officials except where such officers have been dismissed by the National Judicial Council.

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“The commission considers the ruling a dangerous precedent that has no basis in law and, is confident that the Supreme Court will upturn the judgment.

“Criminal trial takes precedence over administrative procedures and it is strange that the Court of Appeal wants to put the cart before the horse.

“This is ridiculous! The appellate court simply wants to confer immunity on public officers from prosecution for corruption, it will not stand,” Wilson Uwujaren, spokesperson of the EFCC said.

On his part, Effiong said: “Today is a sad day for Nigeria and a dark day for the Judiciary. The Court of Appeal has basically given impunity the protection of the law.

“This is judicial legislation in its most audacious but corrosive form. The sanctity of section 308 of the constitution has been rendered impotent.

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“I am convinced that this judgment will take Nigeria backwards. If judges, through the NJC, are now the ultimate deciders of the susceptibility of fellow judges to criminal investigation and prosecution, we are doomed as a nation.

“I will elucidate from tomorrow. I am convinced that this judgment is wrong."

NAIJ.com earlier reported how the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, has said the fight against corruption is a do or die affair.

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Source: Naija.ng

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