By Gbenga Gbelee
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo today let the cat out of the bag on how he successfully put a stop to
corruption when he served as the Attorney general and Commissioner for Justice in Lagos State.
Professor Osinbajo served as Lagos Attorney General between 1999 and 2007 under the
administration of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu on the platform of the defunct Alliance for Democracy, AD.
Speaking at the opening of a two-day national dialogue on corruption organised by the Office of the
Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria in conjunction with the Presidential Advisory Committee
Against Corruption, PACAC, at the Banquet Hall of Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja on Thursday,
Professor Osinbajo said he knew there was problem in the judiciary of Lagos state even before he
He said when he assumed office, the first thing he did was to conduct a survey of about 200 lawyers
who were regular practitioners at the courts and asked them certain questions which centred on the
integrity of the judiciary.
The acting President noted that 89 per cent of the respondents said that the judiciary in Lagos state
was notoriously corrupt with issues ranging from sharp practices among judges, court clerks and
lawyers. He also said the survey revealed the causes of the corruption to include appointments
based on favour and connection to the detriment of merit.
Professor Osinbajo said his survey also indicated that no serious background checks were carried out
on prospective appointees while the take home pay of magistrates and judges was also found to be
In mitigating the challenges, the acting president said he instituted a system of tests and interviews
that each prospective appointee must go through and perform satisfactorily before being considered
He also said he subsequently put in place a team of seven senior judges who reviewed the monthly
salary of judges which was about N67,000 and gave a recommendation which would meet up with
the monthly expenditure of judges.
Vice President Osinbajo also said most good judges had no home of their own even after retirement
and decided to not only increase the pay but provided each judge with a House.
The acting President said after doing that he insisted that any judge accused of infraction be
thoroughly investigated and punished accordingly. He said within one year of the reforms, 22
magistrates were sacked while three judges were recommended for disciplinary measures to the
National Judicial Council, a feat which gave lagos a clean slate of corruption by 2006 when another
fresh survey was carried out.
The acting president also used the occasion to ask for additional cooperation from the international
community to recovery all stolen assets hidden in various countries.
He said the process of recovering stolen assets is very cumbersome and may even take several years
hence he called on the international community to work with the Nigerian government to ensure
that the assets are returned to the country speedily.