December 8, 2023

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The CJN on wheelchair – Tribune On line

If you are unlucky not to have a agent in the judicial council, even if you are harmless, you can be discovered responsible – B’eyan o l’eni ni’gbimo, bo ro’jo are, ebi lo mi a je.” This incredibly profound stating of the Yoruba, translated into a pithy musical line in just one of the tracks of Alhaji Ayinla Omowura, late Yoruba Apala musician, stage unmistakably to the point that corruption and favouritism predate colonialism in Africa. When you jointly read this line and D. O. Olagoke’s 1962-composed participate in entitled The Incorruptible Choose, you will comprehend why it is practically an impossibility for Nigeria to work an impartial and corrupt-totally free process.

Nigeria’s most up-to-date narration on corruption is the allegation that the 2023 election, primarily the presidential election, was corruption-ridden. 3 key Nigerian politicians, Atiku Abubakar, Peter Obi and Bola Tinubu jostled for the presidency in the February 25 election. At the conclude of the training, the Independent Nationwide Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) winner. Due to the fact then, his two opponents have inundated the process with complaints of vote-rigging. The most modern narrative in the back-and-forth allegations was a riveting story which statements that the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Kayode Ariwoola, had sneaked out of the place to hold a meeting with Tinubu. He was pictured on wheelchair. The purpose of the conference, it was alleged, was to get Ariwoola to quash the gossamer of electoral corruption allegations in opposition to Tinubu.

If you go into historical exposes on corruption in Nigeria like Karl Maier’s This Property Has Fallen or Stephen Ellis’ This Present Darkness, it may be hard not to concur that the problem of corruption in Africa or Nigeria is genetic. In Maier’s is an audacious, brazen and disturbing report of how corruption and favouritism have ruined the material of Nigeria, bellwether of Africa. Explained to with baffling stats, you could scent putrid odour emitting from the strains of the e-book. It is a distressing story narrated with a depressing consistency. Ellis, on the other hand, traced the roots of Nigeria’s fraud-susceptible system to the quick colonial era, plotting the graph to the current and why Nigeria is globally perceived as worldwide headquarters of fraud.

With the definition of corruption as “an abuse of entrusted electrical power for personalized gains,” you will recognize that Nigeria is roiling ideal inside of a puddle of stench. It is obvious that it may even be challenging to acquit any Nigerian of corruption. This is because there is hardly any difference between the community and non-public and their purses, as nicely as general public and personalized gains.

Considering that the exit of the colonialists in 1960, the buildings of governance they remaining guiding have proved incapable of withstanding the bigger pre-colonial framework of corruption that they inherited. Challenging as the British experimented with to battle the cankerworm with institutions of the law enforcement and the judiciary, not long after they left, corruption swam ashore with a baffling notoriety. The political class that took energy from them was totally reckless, demonstrating open disdain for accountability and approach.

It was the identical tale with the military who took in excess of electricity from 1966. The Yakubu Gowon military authorities embellished the Dodan Barracks seat of electrical power with maggots. Nevertheless generally perceived as incorrupt owing to his austere lifestyle, Gowon was swamped all more than by perceptibly corrupt individuals. His governors owned houses and property that were being significantly increased than their incomes. Indeed, it was approximated that, on the typical, the governors owned commercial qualities and farming estates of at the very least 8 houses each and every, an quantity that averaged concerning N49,000 to N120,000 by 1975 when Murtala Mohammed took about. Very same 1975, a corruption scandal bordering importation of cement known as the Cement Armada erupted which engulfed lots of officials of the Ministry of Defence and the Central Financial institution of Nigeria. They were accused of falsifying ship manifestos and that several of them inflated figures of cements purchased.

To stave off this public perception, Gowon promulgated the Investigation of Property Decree No. 37 of 1968, while frenetically engaging in the approach of arresting the inexplicable write-up-war wealth of Nigerian soldiers, generally gathered in the course of the a few-12 months civil war. To accomplish this, in 1973, Gowon appointed Alhaji Kam Salem to head the “X-Squad,” a fraud investigation arm of the Police, which unearthed numerous scandals inside of the Drive.

In the July of this exact 1974, buffeted on all fronts by the push, Gowon experienced to harangue his fellow Center-Belter, Federal Communications Commissioner, Joseph Tarka, to resign from his position, right after Godwin Daboh, allegedly in concert with Paul Unongo, accused Tarka of intellect-blowing corruption. Tarka’s resignation was child’s engage in when put side-by-side his snide comments, which indicated significantly a lot more humongous corruption in the Gowon government. Tarka experienced stated in a Every day Situations newspaper interview, which revealed that he resigned under stress, that “If I resign, it will set off a chain of reactions of many activities, the conclusion of which nobody could foretell.” This was adopted by an affidavit sworn to on August 31, 1974 at the Jos Superior Courtroom by Mr. Aper Aku, who was a recognized protégé of Tarka. The affidavit contained accusations from the Benue-Plateau Governor, Police Commissioner Joseph Gomwalk, of corruption. Gowon, in a state check out to China, publicly exonerated Gomwalk but community uproar versus this police massive gun seemed to have just begun afresh. He was ultimately later on executed by firing squad for his involvement in the 1976 Lt. Col Buka Suka Dimka coup against Murtala Mohammed.

In spite of this avalanche of corruption scenarios that contain the high and mighty and the lowly in Nigeria, if the Nigerian judicial procedure was earlier mentioned board, Nigeria would not be in the mess it discovered herself now. The judiciary has not fared improved herself. The havoc that judicial corruption has wreaked havoc on its victims is extraordinary and mind-boggling. For instance, in scenarios where by litigants return from the court in utter repulsiveness and psychological agony merely because the courts gathered bribe and ensured a miscarriage of justice, just one can envision the distress these kinds of litigants go by means of. It is this sort of that the chronicity of judicial corruption in Nigeria is taken for granted. Lawyers by themselves know corrupt judges and can distinguish them from the sparse incorruptible kinds. It is so rampant that locating a judicial officer who is previously mentioned board is akin to searching for a virgin in a brothel.

Litigants pay bribes to agents of judges and magistrates, or even right to registrars of courts if they preferred their circumstances to acquire positive judicial notice. In Bori, Khanna community federal government area of Rivers State some years in the past, a main magistrate was arrested by the legal investigation office (CID) on tipoff. He experienced demanded bribe as issue to indicator an accused bail bond. Marked dollars delivered by the CID was then specified to him and the magistrate was caught in the act. Land grabbers are also alleged to have specific judges who they give kickbacks and who give them favourable judgments in court. These are just a minuscule of judicial corruption circumstances that Nigeria is grappling with.

Election petition tribunals are the place judicial corruption tied to politicians is most infamous. Beneath the guise of nocturne, judges accumulate kickbacks that run into billions of naira and thousands and thousands of dollars to subvert the will of the people. In 2016, Point out Protection Support (SSS) carried out various raids on residences of some senior Nigerian judges in Abuja, Port Harcourt, Gombe, Kano, Enugu and Sokoto. SSS explained it did this consequent upon months of investigations wherever its secret law enforcement credibly got proof that the influenced judges ended up associated in questionable money dealings. Files linking some judges to estates that ended up value in excess of N1.5 billion ended up explained to have been recovered, even though in the home of a further, the sum of $400, 000 and N39 million in cash, in addition to paperwork of landed houses belonging to a federal decide, ended up retrieved. Ditto the home of a federal judge in Port Harcourt who was considered to be in possession of $2 million.

So when allegation that the existing CJN, Ariwoola, was in dalliance with the president-elect to pervert justice in the subject against the APC candidate was spun, it appeared to synchronize with the now-starting to be-acquainted pattern of corruption scandals of preceding two CJNs. While he sooner or later resigned his appointment, Justice Tanko Muhammed was subsumed in corruption allegations of mismanagement of money leveled in opposition to him by 14 justices of the Supreme Courtroom. Prior to him, CJN Walter Onnghen, who assumed that place of work in March 2017, got slammed with corruption prices much too, specifically asset declaration offences. The Code of Conduct Tribunal claimed that it was only in 2016, after the controversial crackdown on judges, that the CJN declared his property and it was partly finished. He was also accused of failing to declare his assets in series of lender accounts which ended up denominated in regional and foreign currencies at the Normal Chartered Lender branch in Abuja.

Then, Minister of Point out for Labour, Festus Keyamo, in a release issued yesterday, went off the handle. He claimed in the release that “some folks and groups who are desirous of truncating our democracy” due to the fact they were being embittered that APC “was declared winner of the 2023 Typical Elections” and the “misguided individuals” had been contacting for “either the cancellation of the outcomes or that the President-elect ought to not be inaugurated on the 29th of Could, 2023.”  Keyamo stated he located it perplexing “that people contesting the benefits want to be in the courts and on the streets at the same time.” He denounced these individuals who he referred to as “stoking the embers of dislike, division and falsehoods” and like Basic Sani Abacha once warned NADECO, he bellowed “enough is enough” threatening that “we are not missing in abilities and capacities. Our silence should not be taken for cowardice.”

Pray, how can approaching the court and protesting peacefully amount to “truncating democracy”? It is on document that the two techniques were how Keyamo bought his lawful notoriety. If some people were being certain that their votes were being stolen via 1 of the crudest electoral heists ever, really don’t they have the appropriate to method the court for its resolution? What is improper if they back it up with a tranquil protest? Who are the “we” that Keyamo is threatening to unleash – his ministry of labour, the nevertheless-to-be-installed government or the law enforcement? Do these approximate the “we” of Keyamo?

If you insert all antecedents and precedents of the CJN business, it is incredibly tempting to pronounce Ariwoola as guilty as charged. The allegations are so salacious and riveting that it will be challenging not to concur with people leveling them. On the other hand, inconsistencies and inchoate purchasing of the allegations are proving pretty damaging to the substance of the allegations. If you have ever been a sufferer of mob-lynching and the irreparable problems it has done to the names of personalities in the past who were later found to be harmless of allegations by Nigeria’s Roman mob, 1 would tarry awhile before queuing powering salacious allegations. This is a lot more so when these pieces of “evidence” had been kinds that of course lack material, besides their trolling contents.

In the thick of his despotic rule, I bear in mind an allegation of monumental heist from the administration of military president, Ibrahim Babangida that shook it to its foundation. It was later on found out to have been concocted. It was allegedly printed in the Might 1989 issue of American Ebony journal. This revved students’ riots that thirty day period. Renowned educationist, columnist and critic, Tai Solarin, was the most obtainable scapegoat and veritable item for deconstruction by the allegation. Pronto, Babangida’s protection goons alleged that Solarin circulated the allegation. The SSS did two matters. Initial, it got the publisher of Ebony to denounce this kind of publication and to assert that Ebony experienced not released nearly anything on Nigeria because 1977. Second, the SSS bought an asthmatic Solarin to climb a multiple-storey developing and quickly upon arrival, set him up for an NTA-lined interrogation. Panting and seeking depressing, the interrogator was heard inquiring, “Dr. Solarin, if I was your scholar and I did what you just did, will you award me an A, B, C or F?” It spoke to getting concrete proof right before leveling allegations.

I will implore people leveling allegation of judicial corruption towards Ariwoola for becoming in cahoots with people who required to judicially to subvert the people’s will to supply irrefutable proof of this. Conscious that we could be throwing an harmless guy below a bus, significant allegations as this have to go beyond beer parlour gossips. They have to be concrete evidence. To deliver, as the only credible proof linking Ariwoola with bribe, that he, a guy who those who know him claim limps, arrived or was about to board an aircraft, and was discovered to be on wheelchair, is really tepid and simply cannot stand rigour of scrutiny.

Nigeria need to never ever make it possible for electoral corruption to go into unholy mis-matrimony with judicial corruption. They also should never allow this relationship to impact the last final decision of who is their president from May, 2023. It need to nevertheless in no way be carried out by the martyrdom of an harmless guy. Since those people who gave the wheelchair proof claim to have details of the assembly, why not provide them? For occasion, CCTV evidence of Ariwoola’s arrival at the location of the conference immigration arrival and departure proof and additional substantial tissues of proof that we can use to crucify him?