Published May 2nd, 2012
That corruption has become
endemic, hydra-headed and even emasculated the political, religious, social and
economic landscape of the sub-Saharan clime (Nigeria not exception) and has
eaten so deep into its sustaining bone marrow cannot be overstressed. This is
expressed in the many corruption cases being investigated by the EFCC and ICPC
on high ranking government officials – former governors, cronies of the party in
power, politicians, representatives of corporate organization etc. which the
Fourth Estate of the Realm has described as mere public infotainment in the past
and even now.
The Nigerian impoverished masses are not only aware of the alleged half-baked
prepare readiness of anti-corruption agency to fight corruption head-on but are
also keen watchers, observers and readers of how a few individual who have found
themselves in position of trust use such posts to corruptly line their
ever-swallowing, greedy and immoral vaults to the detriment of the Nigerian
people who have continued to wallow in abject poverty and underdevelopment. The
question is: how many cases of money laundering, official corruption,
embezzlement and misappropriation of public fund and so on involving highly
placed persons, especially the political class, has the EFCC or ICPC won. The
Nigerian people for me have had enough of this entertainment probes carried out
In the past, list of governors who were alleged to be corrupt have been made
public but the question is: have these governors been found guilty for pilfering
public fund entrusted to them? Your answer to this question is as good as mine.
What is it that constitutes a cog in the wheel of fighting corruption mainly
associated with politicians whom the Nigerian electorates elected into positions
of trust with a view that those elected could bring development, employment,
change and invariably put smile on the faces of Nigerians? Is it that the EFCC
or ICPC does not have water-tight evidence to send these perpetual, habitual and
unremorseful kleptomaniacs to jail? Is the fault located in the past Attorney
General of the Federation (Mike Aondoakaa) who pressurize court to respect
“restraining injunction” filed by politicians that the EFCC wants to prosecute
or is it in the nation’s justice system which many believed to have been morally
debased and perverted by those running from the long arm of law?
Writing on how the federal high court in Asaba, the Delta State Capital in 2009
struck out FRN vs. Ibori’s case which was on corruption charges against the
later, sahararporters.com, an online media site gave its caption thus:
“Federal Kangaroo High Court of Asaba discharges and acquits James Ibori”
The online media site wrote: “the federal high court judge in Asaba today
(Thursday, 17 December 2009 my words) discharged and acquitted former governor
of Delta State, James Ibori, of all the 170-count charge of corruption proffered
against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Saharareporters had reported that Justice Marcel Awokulehin, personally approved
for appointment to lead the newly created federal high court in Asaba by Ibori
had struck a deal with the ex-governor and two-time ex-convict to quash the
charges for a princely sum of $5 million.
Signs that the judge was going to deliver his highly compromised judgement
showed early when heavy security was noticed at the venue, our source said the
director general of the state security services, personally coordinated security
from Abuja. At today bizarre ruling, the judge arrived at 8:41 AM, but Ibori
until 8:58 AM. Our reporter described Ibori’s arrival to the venue with the air
of “absolute confidence” in uncommon swagger.
It was therefore a soothing balm for many Nigerians when Mr Ibori was convicted
by the Southwark Crown Court in south London which sentenced him for 13 years in
prison. The sentence of Ibori in faraway London on corruption charges therefore
puts a very big question mark on the incorruptibility of Nigeria’s crop of legal
personnel and its Justice system. If Mr James Ibori could be left off the hook
by the justice system in Nigeria and afterwards convicted by a London court says
much about the debauch nature of Nigeria’s justice system.
The Nigerian justice system as matter of fact has loss is integrity and
something urgent must be done to redeem its currently battered image if the
acquittal of James Ibori by a federal high court in Asaba and his current
conviction is anything to go by. The appropriate body of the Nigerian legal
system charged with disciplining its erring members should ensure that its
members found to be corrupt in the pursuance of their enterprise are punished
adequately to serve as a deterrent to others. The issue of granting court orders
restraining EFCC or ICPC from investigating alleged corrupt politicians and
others should be stopped forthwith.
The Nigerian judicial system and its operators as the last hope of Nigerians
should be above board, incorruptible and eschew greed and corruption in the
discharge of its responsibility if it wants to enjoy the commendation of the
public. God help Nigeria.
Nwaorgu, Faustinus writes from Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Mobile: