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CJN Tanko comes under fire over alleged corruption, justices’ poor working conditions

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Leshi Adebayo

All seems to be unwell in the Nigerian judicial arm of government as the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Ibrahim Tanko has been accused of corrupt practices by 13 justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

According to the justices, via what would be considered a protest 4-paged letter to the CJN titled, “The State of Affairs in the Supreme Court of Nigeria and Demand by Justices of the Court”, the highest judiciary body is faced with poor working conditions and welfare of its members.

In the said letter, which was undated, the justices detailed the major issues currently facing the Supreme Court ranging from unreplaced official vehicles, no increment in budgetary allocations in over 4 years, diverted training funds, lack of provision of qualified legal assistants, deteriorating healthcare of the Court, exclusion of the justices from the management of the court’s affairs, not accommodating by the Court already sworn-in justices since November 2020, epileptic power supply, among other issues.

The justices argued that Tanko’s inefficient leadership had drastically deteriorated the standards known with the nation’s highest court, citing the Supreme Court’s failure to accommodate new justices sworn in since November 2020.

They further stated that their mandatory foreign workshops and training three times in a year “with an accompanying person for reason of age” have been on hold under the CJN, who has now limited their options to only Dubai and Tanzania without an accompanying person.

“Your Lordship totally ignored this demand and yet travelled with your spouse, children and personal staff,” they said before demanding “to know what has become of our training funds, have they been diverted or is this a plain denial?”

“We find it strange that despite the upward review of our budgetary allocation, the Court cannot cater for our legitimate entitlements. This is unacceptable!,” the letter added.

The apex judges decried the current state of their health clinic, which they said had been reduced “to a mere consulting clinic” since drugs were not always available to treat minor ailments, thereby endangering justices who may require emergency medical intervention.

The Supreme Court justices also raised concern over an internal memo that forced them to close by 4 pm over lack of diesel, an act they said proves the apex Court had sunk into unthinkable depths under Tanko’s leadership.

Meanwhile, according to Peoples Gazette, the letter has caused a commotion, resulting in the creation of a committee — with the inclusion of traditional leaders — to salvage the situation.

However, Tanko’s spokesman, Ahuraka Isa, in a statement, claimed that the issues raised in the letter have been addressed as his principal is not found wanting of the accusations.

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