- Former NBA President Olumide Akpata expresses concerns about the Nigerian judiciary, citing deliberate attempts to undermine and capture it
- Akpata criticizes the recruitment process, claiming a lack of transparency and political interference in appointing judges in Nigeria
At the International Bar Association (IBA) conference in Paris, France, Olumide Akpata, a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), expressed concerns about the Nigerian judiciary, stating that the country can only produce a good judge through sheer luck.
In videos shared on social media, Akpata highlighted the issue of “judiciary capture,” describing how Nigeria’s political class is undermining the judicial system. He expressed frustration with the process of judicial appointments, suggesting that the emergence of a competent judge is often a matter of chance.
Akpata stated, “While I was president of the NBA, what I found out was that there is a deliberate attempt on the part of the political class in Nigeria to capture the judiciary. And that has very insidious consequences for the rule of law in Nigeria. It is deliberate and it is intentional.”
He criticized the recruitment process for judges in Nigeria, emphasizing that the political class is influencing the judiciary to serve its interests. Akpata raised concerns about the qualifications of some individuals appointed as judges and questioned their suitability for the role.
The former NBA president also pointed out the erosion of public confidence in the judiciary due to the involvement of retired and serving justices with family members serving as judicial officers in various courts.
Akpata accused politicians, particularly governors, of neglecting judges by withholding basic entitlements such as official cars and accommodation, further undermining the integrity of the judicial system.
The recruitment process for judges in Nigeria has faced criticism, and calls for reforms to enhance transparency and the appointment of qualified individuals have been ongoing.