Thu. Apr 9th, 2020

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Nigeria’s Judiciary Lacks Justice By Festus Ogun

4 min read

Court judgements are not the same as justice. Talk about court judgements, we have them in abundance in Nigeria. On a daily basis, our courts churn out thousands of judgments. Sadly, most of these judgements are devoid of justice and fairness. As we speak, judgements are decided purely on the basis of “technicality” at the expense of justice, equity and fairness. Oooops… I digressed.

I would have managed to come to the conclusion that there is justice in Nigeria until the gruesome murder of Chief Bola Ige comes to my memory. The widely known “Cicero” was killed by unknown gunmen at a time he was serving as the Justice Minister and Attorney General of the Federation. About two decades after, nobody has been successfully prosecuted or brought to book for the violent killing of the noble Statesman. His killers and their sponsors are today walking freely like a common man without any consequence for their despicable atrocities.

If a Minister of Justice can be murdered and about twenty years after justice hasn’t been done to the killers, how would you convince me this system can produce justice?

Recently, Alex Badeh, a former Chief of Air Staff and Chief of Defence Staff of the Federation was killed by unknown gunmen along Abuja-Keffi Expressway, December 2018. Till today, like Chief Bola Ige, he died literally for “nothing” because the Nigerian state doesn’t give a damn about doing justice. Like the typical Nigerian style, people would be arrested for the sake of news headlines. What happens to the suspects weeks, months and years after? You guessed just right, the Nigerian state!

Just few days ago, Anthony Okolie’s ordeal of how he spent 10 weeks in DSS custody for legitimately purchasing a sim that was once used by Hanan, President Buhari’s daughter became public. The DSS released the man after public outcry. The man was even made to sign a document under duress estopping him from taking legal actions against the lawless security agency. No apology. No consequences.

Would Anthony Okolie ever get justice for being unlawfully detained and emotionally and psychologically traumatized just to water the appetite of the emperor’s daughter? Your guess is as good as mine.

And did you see the hide-and-seek game the Federal High Court played in December during Sowore’s unlawful rearrest ordeal? Beyond what you saw, it was a calculated attempt to make Sowore spend his Christmas and New Year in custody. Left for the Nigerian justice system, Sowore would still be in the unlawful custody till date. All thanks to the General’s sudden “compassion”, as the power to detain and release now lies with him. The court, today, is no longer the last hope of the common man. For a common man, pray, without ceasing, for the general’s “compassion”. Oh! I can digress recklessly. My apologies.

A judge who declared he wouldn’t take Sowore’s ex-parte application without hearing from the other party, thereby adjourning the matter; later, on the adjourned date, withdrew from the case on the ground that Sowore’s media outfit, SaharaReporters, had once published a damning report about him in the past. This was just few days to Christmas; meaning it will be very difficult to get the matter assigned on time to another judge. One would readily ask if milord just got to know SaharaReporters made the damning publications. Well, that is the Nigerian justice system for you.

The Prisoner of Conscience, Agba Jalingo is languishing in the coldest part of Calabar prison as we speak. Ask me his offence? He was an ardent critic of Prof. Ben Ayade’s incompetence and ineptitude.

Because the judge presiding on his matter appeared to be unfair in the trial, the matter was transferred, on application by Comrade Jalingo, to an Abuja Federal High Court. During the Christmas period, the judge whom the case was assigned to in Abuja, name withheld, reportedly claimed he was yet to receive the case file from Justice Abomeda who has gone on vacation.

Dramatically, the Abuja judge subsequently proceeded on vacation as well. What is the fate of Agba Jalingo? Can you see the conspiracy against the activist written clearly on the wall? That is the Nigerian justice system.

I can understand the system to an extent. All I can say is our justice system is not designed in the interest of justice. Our justice system is criminal, unreliable, wicked, corrupt and compromised.

This justice system is incapable of producing justice.

May Nigeria’s justice system never happen to you.


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