Nigerian legal system is a disgrace to Mankind and a tragic national plunder. As justice of “cash and carry”, it has informed a paradox in the criminal justice system where the innocent is criminalized the criminal walks free as long as they are able to pay the price.
Within the borders of Nigeria resides one of the most terrifyingly dangerous display of a depraved justice system. From the Roman Empire to the present day it is arguably the most corrupt and the most shameful legal system known to mankind. Obnoxiously arrogant, its proclivities is creating a vicious atmosphere in nation linking up to the morbid corridors of pestilence and decay. Nigerian legal system has become a metaphor for cynicism and despicable lawful plunder
According to Judaic teaching “justice is the Ultimate declaration of Gods will , our means of serving him and approaching him.” Justice is no more or less than fairness . It breeds harmony . It gives comfort and hope to the afflicted and gives us a chance to feel that life is worth living, that no matter how desperate things might seem , it tells us to believe that in end all will work out. It is therefore not only a means towards a harmonious society but altogether an instrument of prosperity Some nations are blessed with a judiciary system that delivers an efficient, effective, accountable and faire justice. Nigeria’s judiciary is remarkable for scandalous deficit of decency. On the scale, integrity remains very limited in supply and most of all, marked by a pervasive systemic corruption.
Martin Meredith aptly described the sordid state of Nigeria’s legal system “the justice system is chaotic prisoners were often locked up without trial for years on end… half of the inmate have never been legally sentenced. Court proceedings are often determined by bribes rather than by justice. Many criminal were safe from persecution because they came from prominent families or enjoyed the patronage of powerful politicians”. “Justice goes to the highest bidder” says Emmanuel Azinge, barrister and solicitor advocate, yaba magistrate court Lagos
“ Many criminal and even dreadful murderers in Nigeria escape justice and go free of charges with connivance of some corruptible judges “ says Mr Nuhu Ribadu , the chairman who headed the Anti graft agency and charged prominent bankers as well as state governors and police commissioners
In case you needed a refresher, one of the biggest established cases of stealing money ,states money laundering and diversion of public funds was the case of James Ibori , the disgraced governor of oil rich delta state . Nuhu Ribadu was the ambushed and attacked anti-corruption agent who was set against the governor . James Ibori left Nigeria immediately afterwards . in spite of all the evidence Ibori was acquitted of 170 count charges by a federal high court judge in Nigeria , but now serving a 13 year jail term in UK after the crown court found him guilty of stealing and laundering states fund under a 13 count charge
According to Ribadu, Ibori was never the worst plunderer of public fund . Governor kalu of Abia was notorious for scandalous misappropriation of public funds . Mr Kalu diverted public fund during his tenure as governor, 35 billion naira according to the states treasurer , to build a massive business empire . He used his mother, daughter , wife and Brother to plunder the states wealth. Kalu was never prosecuted . Notorious thieves terrifying and mindless criminals have walked free out of the courts in Nigeria. ( because judgment is pay as you go and the criminal justice system is cash and carry) The irony is that innocent citizens who are unable to pay for legal representation or bribe the prosecutors and police are sent behind bars for unlimited period of time This administration more than any records of past governance has produced too many sordid scandal of judicial plunder . A government commission investigating overcrowded prison found that some inmate have sat in their ram shackled cell for ten years or more without ever being judged or sentenced for any reason . many more were convicted without proven evidences.
In 2007 four delta state teenagers were convicted for armed robbery later assessment of the evidences against the defendants uncovered massive deficiencies that wrongfully convicted innocent young boys for a crime that was never committed. “ I can still hear the wailing voice of one the four innocent young boys commented their lawyer, he was barely 17 asking in his subs “ why me, what have I done in this world to merit such wrongful accusation.. but why … I don’t even know how to handle a gun ” “ its complete nightmare” says one of the other defendants
Barely the same moment a prominent political figure Chris Uba had not only publicly confessed to rigging election but also to masterminding the kidnapping of the elected governor of Anambra state , Dr Christian Ngige. Rather than punish the felon Uba was rewarded with a new political administrative post and never served one night of jail term . Another prominent politician was convicted of brutal rape of a young college girl he appealed against the case paid money and was set free now the lives of the parents of are under threat
In another case which was clearly a political murder of a promising local politician, Livinus Ajufo who had just secured a local political victory. On his way for scheduled victory party he was riddled with bullets in the back seat of his car and his assailants were never arrested nevertheless the driver Nwafor Emeka 25 who survived the attack unhurt was arrested and locked up. And since that faithful of July 2007 his life is recklessly wasted away in jail with out prosecution or trail of any kind
The experiences of Chigioke, Emeka and all the rest is a monstrous perversity of justice and this is happening on an epidemic proportion to too many young and innocent citizens. Nigeria’s addiction to corruption has created a massive propensity to criminality amongst the prosecutingbody(judges and police) Every one of them is on the lookout for money making opportunity. The criminal justice system is creating a massive number of criminal and over crowding the prisons paradoxically there is a massive failure to favor justice.
If we are to live together in any society a certain measure of protection of rights and freedom of persons and properties is necessary; and should be equally guaranteed to every member of the community without regard to his status, personality or standard. The acknowledgment of this principle is what sets us apart as a civilized community. Society cannot not exist without the full measure of justice ; and the ranking of a people on the scale of being is determined by the role played by it’s justice system in the ordering of things. It is well know that any where money buys impunity chaos and disorder will reign.