Nigerians across the world have lent their voices to the current war against corruption in the country concluding that efforts to stamp out the scourge may not provide necessary result due to ineffectiveness of the nation’s anti graft organisations.
According to a cross section of Nigerians, corruption solution may not reside with the anti graft organisation but with the nation’s parliament coming harder by introducing corporal punishment, such as death penalty.
It is being opined that the current drive may be too slow and non result oriented and thereby may not be the needed solution to tackle the most endemic scourge face our nation. Corruption has indeed eaten deep into our society and pervading the rank and file of different national organisations. International Organisations and big powers have expressed pessimism in the past an now, they are being vindicated.
In a two day opinion poll carried out by EMNnews recently, Nigerians are expressing their disgust that the Economic and Financial Crime Commission(EFCC) has outlived its importance and has turned to another resources drain cancer eating deep into the nation’s economic flesh, with no reward coming from its activities.
“EFCC is a spent force and may not provide solution to the much sought after end to official corruption in Nigeria. What we need now is our parliament working on the introduction of death penalty”, many of our respondents concluded.
The investigation came in the light of a recent sentence of a teacher to two years imprisonment in Yola in Adamawa State, Northern Nigeria.
The High Court sitting in Yola sentenced a former Secretary of the Nigerian Union of Teachers in Lamurde Local Government Area of Adamawa state to two years imprisonment.
Mr. Japhet Dadiye was committed to prison for two years over N3.8million scam by Justice Audu Lagre for defrauding a new generation bank to the tune of N3, 848,678 (three million, eight hundred and forty-eight thousand, six hundred and seventy-eight naira).
Dadiye was arraigned by the EFCC on June 23rd, 2011 on a one count charge of criminal breach of trust.
Justice Lagre in his judgment, held that, having perused and weighed all testimonies, arguments and pleas by the prosecuting and defence counsel, came to the conclusion that the Dadiye was guilty as charged.
He therefore sentenced him to two years imprisonment without an option of fine. In addition, he was asked to pay the sum of N10, 000(ten thousand naira) to the court.
However, drawing a parallel line with other case involving top Nigerians government officials charged for official corruption, many respondents to our questions said the Nigerian security organisation is making a mockery of corruption extermination in Nigeria because officials are conniving with criminals by providing weak cases so that there would be no strong reason for corresponding punishments.
There have been no solid achievement by the EFCC since the departure of its former Chairman, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu.
Many Nigerians now see corruption tackling in Nigeria now as a big joke with many referring to the case of Former PDP kingpin in Lagos, Chief Bode George who was said to have celebrated corruption, after he bag only six months for embezzling bilions of Naira and abusing the nation’s official position to enrich himself.
“With such attitude, it may be difficult to stamp out corruption in Nigeria because the nation’s law is not always binding on the big thieves of our nation”, a London based legal practitioner”, Mr Bayo Egunlae opined, adding it may be difficult to stamp out corruption scourge in the country.
On the issue of the former NUT Secretary, he concluded:”It is all the same criminal processes. How come there have been no serious cases despite the fact that our nation has been stuck in a stupor of corrupt practices and billions spent to fight it is not yielding any thing back”.
According to Prince Hakeem Awolesi, there are two types of Nigerians who operate on same laws. The first is the elites group who live in different planet inside our nation and the second is the citizens of Nigeria who form the hard working majority.
Abiodun Ogunseitan claimed:”The issue with Nigeria is, poverty has been so abject that everyone is a rogue in Nigeria by definition. This is because once the leaders are rogues as has been so demonstrated, the followers will copy their ways. Now who is going to bell the cat”.
According to Isqil Najim, “First and foremost, corruption is endemic and had permeated every corner of the country. Our leaders are developing sticky fingers because we are encouraging them as there is no seriousness in tackling the scourge”
“Our justice system has been put together to favours the rich, famous and the politicians. Perhaps because they are the law-makers and have used their position to provide soft-landing to crimes that may affect them. For instance, court will free rogue leaders on self-recognition even when the crime committed is heinous, while common man with lesser crime may rot in jail even if he is a first offender.
“We found ourselves in a situation where lawyers determine cost of justice and where money and legal fee decides what is right or wrong. If you have no lawyer, you are as good as lost, and if you cant afford a good lawyer, you stand accused even if you are not guilty.
He continued: “In this regard, it is the society and law that is to blame. I sympathize with judges because they pass judgement based on the evidence available to them and though this does not mean they dont collect bribes or twist judgement.
In the Yola case, I think what we should all do is to call for fairness. I know some people will want to justify the teacher’s crime because Bankole (supposedly) Stole more or that politicians get less punitive judgement. This is not right as it will be like passing wrong values to our children, and making it look like they can steal because bigger thieves are not jailed.
He concluded: “So, our focus should be on justice reform and removal of “big-man” mentality in dispensation of judgement,” Isquil opined.
“Recent dispensation of justice has made a mockery of our justice system”, claims Mohammed Haruna, another respondent.
“Our nation cannot move forward unless we have a working legal system and the entire nation nursing the common purpose of tackling corruption,” he continued adding that what we have in place is corruption tackling corruption with the result end of eruption of legal commotion that will create a logjam of stuck cases against the elites. as well as providing failed corruption litigation against enemies of our society just as it is happening now” he said.