A principal anti-corruption, Pro-democracy and Human Rights group, the Coalition for Democracy in Nigeria (CODIN), has called on the current administration in the country to form a working synergy between it and stakeholders in the criminal justice system, particularly the Judiciary in Nigeria, with a view to waging effective war against corruption.
President of the Group, Comrade Mashood Erubami who made the call on behalf of the group while addressing members at the emergency consideration of the past spending of recovered loots from the late President Sani Abacha and Court forfeitures stressed the need for strong fight against corruption, asserting that, “the call is in preparation for the new recovery of another over $150b from France.”
Erubami reminded President Tinubu of the earlier calls by the former President Muhammadu Buhari, in Abuja, at the opening ceremony of the 2019 Biennial All Nigeria Judges Conference of Superior Courts where he advised that the conference should, in its deliberations, consider how to create an efficient structure for the proposed Special Crimes Courts or the urgent designation of existing courts as Special Courts with competent and seasoned credible judicial officers in order to remove administrative bottlenecks in the judicial process.”
All stakeholders in the justice reform sectors and the criminal justice system, Erubami suggested should be headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria and should move beyond the current challenges facing the Judiciary and rise firmly to resolve these problems that have served as obstacles against the strong fights against corruption in the land.
He advised that the stakeholder’s forum should fashion out new measures to show commitment to a number of justice sector reforms such as review of extant laws and enactment of new laws that will improve the lives of Nigerians if corruption is fought to its knees.
Erubami reminded the leaders of the Judiciary of past work synergy with the former Chief Justice Mahmood which he said ensured that judicial budgetary allocations were enhanced in view of the needs of the judiciary to ensure that the staff gaps in the hierarchy of the courts at all levels in order to reduce the burden of the work placed on judicial officers saying that this must continue.
According to him, the Tinubu Administration must not be merely committed to the aforementioned judiciary reforms in isolation of its supportive economic revival through the incorruptible attraction of foreign direct investments into the country as well as fighting corruption and insecurity.
Gainful foreign investments, Erubami added can only be successful in an atmosphere of ease of doing businesses and subjection of the business processes to the global best practices where the law rules. He therefore called the attention of the bar and the bench to be abreast the anti-corruption project models of government mantra by joining hands to propel and strengthen the articulation of new judicial devices from government to improve transparency, security, and the expeditious adjudication of commercial, corruption related crimes including economic and financial crimes matters.
The group President further stressed that the constitutional provisions and justices in the various anti-corruption laws designed already and new laws that could be re-enacted to fight those exposed for corruption from across the three arms of government must not be subsumed under interpreted technicalities but justiciable and judicially interpreted upon which substantive justice must be made as against just giving judgment.
The foremost human right activist regretted that the judiciary though, still steadfast, is not in an enough portion that can win justice for the people, guarantee their human rights and make the people equal before the law, directing therefore the attention of the President Tinubu’s administration to the huge loot of over $150b being expected from the former late Abacha loots as had been previously recovered.
He suggested that such recoveries must continue to be accounted for while informing the people of the innovative lasting projects being targeted for the people’s welfare and well-being on which the money would be spent.
The leadership of the country’s Judiciary, Erubami cautioned must not allow the People to conclude that the Judiciary was responsible for the prevalent corruption fight back by renewing measures to discourage the trend that will engage the judicial institution to help in ensuring that corruption impunities are fought to its logical conclusion, fighting against injustice and corruption unsparingly and non-selectively irrespective of whose ox is gored by being blind to ethnic, religious and professional affiliation.
Those who offer themselves to be “go-between,” individuals, police or lawyers for which judges and suspects under trials, should also be treated as substantive criminals and must be arraigned before the courts for appropriate incorruptible judicial treatment through renewed fight against corruption designed to terminate the practice of lawyers serving as commission agents towards ensuring that judges stopped to becoming impregnable goalkeepers for corruptly exposed individuals and Corporate Organisations.
Comrade Erubami finally warned that all allegations against workers in the judiciary must
be tightly provable in the face of law and supported by strong evidence that can establish such allegations at the end of which the people will secure convictions and lift the Judiciary unto its best status in the world.