by Seyi Lawal
As her track record shows, Justice Aloma Mukhtar is one tough lady, and she’s clearly not about to slow down now that she’s been appointed Chief Justice of Nigeria. Fielding questions from Senators at her confirmation hearing, she spoke on her plans to revamp the image of the judiciary and tackle corruption.
“I will try as much as possible to ensure that the bad eggs that are there are taken out.” she said. “There will be a cleansing by the NJC based on petition. It is sad that the ordinary man in the street now thinks and feels that he will not get justice, and this is because of the situation we find ourselves. I will ensure that this perception is changed.”
“Corruption is in every system of our society and I cannot pretend that it is not in the judiciary.” she continued. “What I intend to do to curb this is to lead by example and to hope and pray that others will follow.”
“As the chairman of the national Judicial Council, I will encourage internal cleansing based on petition. But that is not to say that I will condone frivolous petition. Each petition will be looked at on its merit. And I will also seek the permission of my colleagues in the council to ensure that discipline is enforced accordingly.”
She also acknowledged the need to tackle terrorism in the country, going on to admit that no laws are currently in place regarding such issues. “I will start with the issue of terrorism.” she said. “I know that it is something that is aching everybody’s mind in Nigeria and I know that everybody is anxious to ensure that this menace is curbed. We can only do that if there is a law in place, but right now there is no law on terrorism.”
“I think this depends on what is before the judge.” she said in response to questions regarding the release of persons accused of terrorism from jail. “If the judge finds that there is nothing that should warrant remand of a person accused of terrorism, he will be at liberty to release him on bail. But then, I think I will take a step that we partner effectively with the authority to ensure that unnecessary granting of bail is limited.”