The President of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NIC), Justice Babatunde Adejumo, says judges aspiring to the bench of the court must eschew corruption if they must succeed.
Adejumo said aspiring judges must be incorruptible and hardworking individuals to scale the hurdles of screening.
He said the industrial court had been hindered in its mandate of settling trade disputes by the lopsided and faulty way of appointing its members.
He spoke on Saturday at a lecture entitled, “How to Become A Judge of National Industrial Court,” delivered to mark the 2019 Attorney General’s Colloquium in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State capital.
Adejumo said apart from the fact that corrupt judges in the industrial court cannot make headway, their corrupt tendencies would be easily exposed to the public.
“It is important to hint that anyone who may aspire to become a judge of the court must understand the law, most particularly in the area of labour and industrial relations,” he stated.
“He must be of impeccable character; he must abhor corruption and other related vices; he must be hardworking and dedicated with no moral or professional blemish.
“The foregoing is in line with Rule 4 of the 2014 Revised National Judicial Council (NJC) Guidelines and Procedural Rules for the appointment of judicial officers of all superior courts of records in Nigeria.”
He said most of the trade disputes the court hears are government- labour industrial feuds, which he said further predisposed the judges to intense lobbying. He stressed that all these must be resisted to protect justice and the integrity of the bench.
Adejumo said the industrial court failed to live up to the expectations of the people since its establishment via Trade Disputes Decree No 7 of 1976 due to the mode of appointment of the judges of the court.
“At inception, there was a problem of dual procedure for the appointment of the president and other judges of the court,” he explained.
“By virtue of section 19 and 25 of the Trade Union Act, the President of Nigeria appoints its president on the recommendation of the Federal Judicial Service Commission while the other members are appointed by the president through the recommendation of the Minister of Labour.
“These procedures created a lot of problems to be the extent that no quorum could be formed without the NIC president on seat.
“But with National Industrial Court Act 2006, the process was normalised and NJC is now the recommending authority just like the procedure for the appointment of judges of other superior courts.”
He urged lawyers intending to serve as judges of the court to be apolitical, shun corruption and live a modest lifestyle to be able to pass the judicial scrutiny that would qualify them to the bench of NIC.