The Corruption Burden

Posted: May 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

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By Tony Orilade
It was disgusting to the ears when the news broke on May 3, 2012, that a certain Adamu Abubakar who was arrested on March 19, 2012, at Darazo market in Bauchi state while trying to spend a fake N500 Nigerian currency with an orange seller in the market was on May 2, 2012, sentenced by Justice M. T. Salihu of the Federal High Court, sitting in Bauchi.

From the news report, Adamu a.k.a. Damina Suruku, 18, was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. He was found guilty on all four count charge for dealing, altering and being in possession of fake Nigerian currency notes; charges which were brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Also recently, another Sani Ahmed was remanded in prison custody by Justice B.O. Quadri of the Federal High Court Gombe, on a two- count charge of counterfeiting and being in possession of counterfeit N1000 Naira Bank Note. Ahmed was apprehended at a business centre in Gombe metropolis where he was found to be using a computer printer to scan the CBN N1000 Bank Note which he would print out with the aid of a computer printer then cut and trim to size.

As commendable as the judiciary, represented by Justices Salihu and Quadri seems, in discharging these laudable assignments in the fight against economic and financial crimes, it is disheartening to note are of the opinion that the EFCC’s prosecution efforts in ensuring that only while those involved in the smaller thieves are sent to jail, that high profile cases are left off the hook in the name of pleas bargain and other judicial novelties. There is no doubt that unlike the ‘smaller’ corrupt public and private officials who have not stolen enough to secure the services of Senior Advocate of Nigerian, SANs, as defence counsels, the high profile corrupt officials hire as many SANs as possible, pay them millions of naira to bamboozle the judges with legal technicalities and continue to prolong their trial, even when they are convinced that they are on the path of national perdition.

There is no doubt that the process of bringing high profile corrupt officers to book is not as straightforward as many Nigerians assume it should be. The EFCC is understandably, at its best in the prosecution of high profile cases in Nigeria , in view of circumstantial and environmental challenges being faced. There is congestion of cases or made to be so, particularly criminal cases, in the regular courts at various levels. As it stands, the much talk about Special Court for corruption cases, as being discussed by the leadership of the apex court, remain the only way out as the benefits are self evident.

The initiative, no doubt a novelty, is meant to enhance the war against corruption by facilitating speedy conclusion of corruption cases within a reasonable period. Second, it will restore public confidence in the anti-corruption war and the judicial syste There is no doubt that the process of bringing high profile corrupt officers to book is not as straightforward as many Nigerians assume it should be. The EFCC is understandably, at its best in the prosecution of high profile cases in Nigeria, in view of circumstantial and environmental challenges being faced. There is congestion of cases or made to be so, particularly criminal cases, in the regular courts at various levels. As it stands, the much talk about Special Court for corruption cases, as being discussed by the leadership of the apex court, remain the only way out as the benefits are self evident.

The initiative, no doubt a novelty, is meant to enhance the war against corruption by facilitating speedy conclusion of corruption cases within a reasonable period. Second, it will restore public confidence in the anti-corruption war and the judicial system under which it is being prosecuted. However, like all public policies and programmes, the success of the initiative will depend on the implementation and Nigerians are waiting and sooner than later, all the former governors who have cases to answer like the Ogidigboigboi, the former governor of Delta state, james Onanefe Ibori, will be brought to book.

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