‘We only need patience’
When this present administration took over on Friday, May 29, 2015, there were high hopes for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as Nigeria’s most promising effort to tackle corruption. But to some Nigerians, its effort has fallen short of expectation because of undue political interference, institutional weakness and inefficiency in the judicial system as confirmed by President Muhammadu Buhari himself.
However, there have been palpable fear, especially within the political class when the anti-graft agency started arresting the suspected looters of the country’s treasury,
’There is an impressive speed now’’-John Itodo
I am of the opinion that there is significant progress in anti-corruption trials. Most of the cases are now fixed for defence. That’s quite fast, I must say. What this means is that the prosecution has opened its case, led evidence at impressive speed. Let me, however, caution that criminal prosecution is not always tantamount to criminal conviction and sentencing. No! Securing a conviction and sentencing are all a function of the quality of evidence before the court which must prove every single ingredient of the offence charged. If any ingredient of an offence, for instance stealing is not proved, it is resolved in favour of the defendant and fatal to the prosecution’s case.
Let me therefore advise Nigerians who are keen at conviction that the proper time to follow up the cases is now. Not when the deed is done and the battle is lost and won. Follow up on the prosecution, what are they doing? What are the defendants charged with? What quality of evidence are before the court and what’s the defendant putting forward as his/her defence? How urgent and strong is the evidence?
The public shouldn’t only talk on social media, newspapers or magazines. They should also follow up on these things now.
The court is a court of law and not court of sentiment. It does not matter how offended the public is at the person or persons standing trails, if the prosecutor fails to prove his case against them, the defendants walk away free. In such instances, please spare the judiciary and judicial officers.
It can’t be their fault, they are under solemn oath to dispense justice according to law, not according to sentiment, without fear nor favour.
‘There is progress in anti-corruption trials now’ – Barr. Toyin Bamgbose-Falaiye
There is progress in anti-corruption trials. It’s only that the whole struggle is yet to yield the desired result, and this is mainly because of bottlenecks and technicalities involved with our laws and legal system.
Even though the efforts, the rules and laws do not help matters, a lot of trials have either been stalled or suffered one setback or the other, especially during the previous administrations. Therefore, there is an urgent need for a review of our laws in Nigeria. This will go a long way in assisting the government in fighting and winning the corruption war.
Now, the fear of Buhari alone has put a lot of people in check. Some of the looters even secretly returned some money to the coffers of the government. But I am of the opinion that the process of the trials can be faster but some lawyers employ technicalities to cause delay. The current administration is the one vigorously fighting corruption and they have made considerable progress in naming some big wigs. But the legal system and our law need to assist them the more.
‘There’s noticeable progress now’ -Barr. Toyin Adeyanju
There’s noticeable progress now in the anti-corruption trials in Nigeria. And there is a loud identification and prosecution of looters of national treasury compared to the previous administration, a lot of people are on their toes. The only challenge is the administration of criminal justice which frustrates their trial. So, to have a remarkable success, we need to sanitize the judiciary.
’The progress is still on a slow pace’’ -Barr. ECU Onajason
The anti-corruption trials in Nigeria are still on a slow pace because some judges, prosecution and defence counsels are yet to appreciate the full impact of the Administration of Justice ACT 2015.
This is the new law that regulates criminal trial in Nigeria. It provides quick dispensation of trial but people don’t follow.
- TADE ASIFAT