By Suleiman Shehu/Ibadan
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) , Mrs Folake Solanke, has described the recent linking of judges and senior lawyers with acts of corruption as a calamity for the legal profession.
Solanke, 85 on 29 March, said this on Wednesday in Ibadan during a special court session organised by the Oyo State Judiciary in honour of the late legal icon, Bandele Aiku (SAN).
“ In my 54 years at the Bar, I could not have imagined that we would now have honourable judges and Senior Advocates of Nigeria in the dock answering to criminal charges.
“Of course, they are presumed innocent until proven guilty, but the present situation of charging judges, in indictments, is a legal calamity and opposed to the meaning of “ Honourable Judges.
“The legal system in Nigeria is bleeding internally and we must stop the dangerous haemorrhage in order to clean the Augean stable.
“We have many judges who labour to render justice without fair or favour by abiding to their oath of office.
`But a few erring judges tragically smear the upright judges and those in the legal profession with a paint of corruption by polluting the stream of judges,’’ Solanke said.
She said that it would be a dreadful mistake to condemn all judges and all SANs, adding that upright judges were respected all over the world and such respect ensured the smooth administration of justice worldwide.
Solanke urged the National Judicial Council (NJC) to always expedite the process of taking decisions on complaints against serving judicial officers.
She said that the legal profession needed to formulate new strategies which could enable upright and knowledgeable judges to restore the golden age of the administration of justice.
The senior advocate said that the previous method of inviting suitable lawyers to the bench produced very good judges who engendered the golden age.
“Right now, applications, not limited to judicial officers, are being considered for appointment as judicial officers to the Supreme and Appeal Court.
“We pray the exercise will be a spectacular success,’’ she said.
The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports that Aiku, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, died on Aug. 31 at 80 years.
Solanke became Nigeria’s first female SAN in 1981, twenty years after she started practising law in Nigeria. She was educated at Newcastle University, then Durham University in the UK, before she enrolled at the Grays Inn London to read law.