MURIC demands Judiciary reform

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Ishaq Akintola, MURIC Director.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has complained about the prolonged delay in the dispensation of justice in Nigeria.

The Islamic human rights organization therefore called on the Federal Government to expedite action on the dragged reform of the Nigerian judiciary.

The call was made in a press statement issued by the Director of MURIC, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Tuesday, 17th September, 2019 copy of which was sent to The DEFENDER.

The organization lamented delays in the criminal justice system which allows criminals who have confessed to still continue to maradonise law enforcement agents and judges years after their arrest.

MURIC continued, “How can a notorious kidnapper like Chukwudi Dumeme Onuamadike, popularly known as Evans still be appearing in court years after his celebrated arrest. It is sheer gymnastic procrastination. A lot of things are wrong with our judicial system. Evans was arrested on 11th June, 2017. This is September 2019. It is past two years now for crying out loud and he may still be in court for the next six years.

“This is a man who confessed to several high profile abductions, including murder. What is he still doing shuttling between courts and detention? Evans house is worth N130 million. He has two houses in Magodo, Lagos and another two duplexes in Ghana worth N15 million each. Evans’ wristwatch costs 170 thousand dollars and his net worth is estimated at N2.2 billion.

“Like Evans, the Taraba State kidnap kingpin Hamisu Bala, also known as Wadume may face trial ad infinitum if care is not taken. Wadume, whose first arrest on 6th August, 2019, caused the unfortunate death of three policemen due to an inter-agency betrayal, was rearrested on 20th August, 2019. Another big fish in the kidnapping profession, 40-year-old Bello Audu A.K.A. ‘Commander Yellow’ who was arrested on 12th September, 2019 is also expected to enjoy the luxury of prolonged hearing if the poor showing of the courts is anything to go by. This delay is nauseating.

“The same goes for corrupt politicians where cases drag on for years. Is it not a shame that the cases of 16 former governors still linger in court since 2007? That is a whopping 12 years! To make matters worse, some of them have contested two or three times and won senate seats while their cases drag on in the courts. Equally worrisome is the fact that almost all of them claim one ailment or the other and request for treatment abroad.

“This makes a mockery of not only the judicial system but also the war against corruption. Watching these ex-governors defy the courts encourages other politicians to steal public money.

“Although MURIC does not deny that suspects and criminals have certain rights, we contend that it is counter-productive for the judicial system to dignify self-confessed criminals with prolonged and ‘executive’ cases. Delays in judgement emboldens criminals. Both criminals and corrupt politicians exploit the various loopholes in the system to their own advantage and hide behind legal technicalities thereby creating the impression of ineptitude on the part of the judiciary.

“It is also a pity that Nigeria suffers from a desertification of lawyers of conscience. The alacrity with which our lawyers jump at defending criminals constitutes a taint on the integrity of that noble profession. The speed with which they grab cases of persons of extremely low morality is quite disturbing. It is a major impediment to the elimination of criminality in the Nigerian society.

“The nonchalance of past regimes to job creation, particularly the Jonathanian ideology of ‘stealing is not corruption’ has created an economic mess which cannot be cleaned up in a hurry. Jonathan turned the institution of national honours to a jamboree for international rogues and ‘fantastically corrupt’ politicians. This is worsened by the phenomenon of religious challatanism whereby licenced thieves, acknowledged armed robbers, established kleptomaniacs and registered kidnappers are given front row seats in churches and turbaned in the mosques.

“MURIC is aware that the Buhari administration has introduced several economic measures to reduce poverty. Nonetheless, we believe that the puritanic regime of President Muhammadu Buhari can still do more to stem the tide of criminality. Fewer young people will be tempted to commit crime if government can reduce hunger in the land.

“We will conclude this intervention on an optimistic note. If police stations can be closed during weekends in Sweden because crime has been reduced to the barest minimum; if shops can be left open in Saudi Arabia at prayer times with no one to watch for the owners, Nigeria can also become a good point of reference in crime-free environments in a not too distant future. However, the panacea lies in a well planned, focused and effective reform of the judiciary.”

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