Mr John Walker, a U.S. judge, on Wednesday urged Nigeria to back its campaign against corruption with a strong political will and attitudinal change of the populace.
Walker, ina digital video conference at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, said? that political will and behavioural change of the people were key factors in eliminating corruption.
According to him, corruption is not peculiar to Nigeria.
Walker ,who spoke on the topic,? “Judicial Anti-corruption and Transparency’’, urged? the judiciary to take the lead in tackling the menace in view of its role in the society.
“If the judiciary is corrupt, how will they prosecute others? Instead of being part of the solution, it becomes the problem . The judiciary cannot function unless it has public support which it must build by being credible.
“The press also has a responsibility to society in tackling corruption, it must understand judicial processes and decisions,’’ he said.
Walker called for the strengthening of the country’s anti-graft bodies through proper planning and monitoring, use of aggressive investigative techniques, such as authorised wiretaps, sting operations and undercover informants.
The judge also stressed the need for judges to be trained on ethics and urged transparency of all judicial proceedings, among others.
One of the conference participants, Justice Ishaq Bello of the FCT High Court, said that judicial practice in Nigeria was in accordance to universal practice.
Bello said that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent and Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission? were established to deal with white collar crimes.
In his remark, Justice Ugochukwu Ogakwu of the Abuja High Court, said?? although anti-corruption bodies were in place, the institutions lacked the capacity to effectively carry out their duties.
“Nigeria has institutions that can wipe out corruption but they lack the political will in implementing their duties. The structures are there but implementation of duties are lacking,’’ he said.
Ogakwu, however, said that in spite of minimal corruption in the judiciary, that arm of government was often stereotyped.
?“People? do not come forth with evidence to support allegations of corruption,’’ he said.
The conference was attended by the media, non-governmental organisations and members of the Nigerian Bar Association.