An advocacy group, Citizens Support for Lower Courts, has petitioned the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola over alleged leakage of the entrance examination for recruitment of judges into the Oyo State Judiciary.

The examination was allegedly conducted by the National Judicial Institute (NJI) on June 20, 2022.

In a statement obtained by CITY LAWYER and signed by its Convener, Mr. Adebayo Akinlade, the group stated that the entrance exercise was “compromised,” adding that though the immediate past Chief Judge of the Oyo State Judiciary raised concerns over the alleged leakage, this did not yield any positive result.

The group urged Justice Ariwoola to jettison any recommendations from the Oyo State Judicial Service Commission relating to the recruitment exercise, adding that written examination should be scrapped for the recruitment process as it “does not play any significant role in ascertaining the experience and disposition of potential Judges.”

Said the group: “Your lordship, it has come to our attention that the appointments process/exercise to the High Court Bench in Oyo State was substantially flawed and was not transparently done. We have it on good authority that the written examination conducted by the National Judicial Institute, Abuja on the 20th day of June 2022 was leaked. This allegation is very damning and worth investigating

“We were reliably informed that the immediate past Chief Judge of Oyo State complained about the leakage of the Examination question papers but nothing was done about it. Your lordship; we cannot have a corrupt free Judiciary with these kinds of allegations hanging over it.

“Your lordship; we have also been informed that the JSC in Oyo State are not working as a team to deliver on its mandate as provided for by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended). Instead a section of them have adopted a mechanism that can easily be manipulated and abused.

“Your lordship; CSLC believes strongly that lawyers serving on the Bench should be careered in the sense that when they are first appointed as magistrates, they should have the priority of being elevated to the higher bench. If this is not the case then we urge your lordship and the NJC to ensure that the remuneration of Judges at the lower courts is substantially at par with Judges at the High Courts.

“Your lordship; with the greatest respect, it is our conclusion that due to the foregoing; the current recommendations of the Oyo State JSC of candidates to the Higher Bench be jettisoned and the Commission be properly constituted. We also strongly recommend that written examinations of any kind be scraped (sic) as it does not play any significant role in ascertaining the experience and disposition of potential Judges.”

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