The National Judicial Council (NJC) in a letter dated October 26, 2016 while responding to the request of the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) said it cannot hand over judges accused of corruption to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The NJC said it does not have such powers as it can only make recommendations to the executive after looking into petitions against judges.
The CJN said, “It is necessary to restate that the NJC is a creation of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended) being established under Section 153 with its mandate clearly set out in Paragraph 21, Part One of the Third Schedule to the Constitution.
“This provision clearly stipulates at Paragraph 21(b) and (d) that the council may only ‘recommend’ to the President and the governors, the removal from office of judicial officers and to exercise disciplinary control over such judicial officers, which, in effect, is the extent of its power to discipline. Hence, the council cannot, suo moto, dismiss any judicial officer.
“The NJC can also neither ‘hand over’ corrupt judges to law enforcement agencies for prosecution nor recover proceeds of corruption, as you have suggested. It can merely recommend to act upon its findings, as it has always done.”