Civil Society Groups Call for Probe into Allegations Against Chief Justice of Nigeria

A coalition of Civil Society Organisations has demanded an independent investigation into allegations of nepotism and favouritism against the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola.

The National Judicial Council, chaired by the CJN, recommended the appointment of his son, Olukayode Ariwoola Jr., as a Judge of the Federal High Court in July 2023. This move sparked criticism from some lawyers who argued that judicial appointments should be based on merit.

Additionally, the groups accused the CJN of appointing his younger brother, Adebayo Ariwoola, as an auditor for the NJC. During a protest near the Supreme Court, the leader of the civil society groups, lawyer Martin Obono, emphasized the importance of investigating these allegations thoroughly and ensuring accountability.

Key demands from the coalition include:

1. Conducting an independent inquiry into the appointments to ascertain if other qualified candidates were overlooked.
2. Requesting Justice Olukayode Ariwoola to recuse himself as Chairman of the National Judicial Council pending the investigation.
3. Ensuring a swift and transparent investigation, with the results made available to the public.
4. Implementing appropriate disciplinary measures if Justice Ariwoola is found to have violated the Code of Conduct.

The protesters also called for the unbundling of the CJN’s office to prevent further abuse of power. Despite attempts to reach the Supreme Court’s spokesperson, Dr. Festus Akande, there has been no response at the time of reporting.

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