Special court for looters By Samuel Aruleba

Scale

Corruption otherwise known as graft is very rife in Nigeria and for decades has been left to feast fat and robust on the nation’s economy. They call it business as usual on the watch of each passing government poignantly doing its best to nourish and nurture it to maturity undeterred. Identifying, cornering, apprehending and bringing all the corrupt chieftains to the history book of shame seems an urgent focus of President Muhammadu Buhari who has come and presented himself as a different fish in the pond, a legacy marking his second bite at the cherry as the nation’s leader.

The 72-year-old President saw the culprits at work, assessed the decadence, and concluded to be decisive on what to do to arrest the killjoy. This new script of new order in Nigeria does not come cheap either side of the divides. To the treasury looters, they face confiscation of stolen wealth and return of loot to the national coffer. Buhari – the chief law enforcer – faces threats, political persecution, and character assassination from the ten-finger thieves nationwide.

The war on corruption is in progress even though it takes a lion’s heart for one to deal with cases of corruption in Nigeria, but Buhari has such in abundance. So far, the President has been resolute and showed irrepressible tenacity whilst making himself heard at the heart of hatred fireballs of insults directed at him especially from the bands of corrupt czars on the high horse.

Buhari is in tune with the magnanimity of institutional corruption, which is relentlessly eating dry this country’s economy and setting back the clock of socio-economic progress in the modern era. If trust and virtue are two ingredients a judge should possess to deliver good judgment on cases, such are notably in short supplies on the Nigerian bench nationwide as we speak. Consequently, Buhari’s plan to set up special courts to try corrupt officers, which engaged the thoughts of many in the country and among Nigerians in the Diaspora considering the incurable moral leprosy of court judges across Nigeria in the past, admittedly encrypts insightfulness and doggedness given a flash appraisal. The retired military general may be the first to do it with such respect and aplomb. Although a closer look will still annotate any special court to be manned by the breed of those judges we all decry to be short of honesty and personal integrity. If it is to ameliorate the suspected shortcomings of these officials, Buhari could be advised to consider the incorporation of the jury as in practice in developed worlds to assist the courts in deciding those cases on their merits.

A jury consists of a sworn body of ordinary citizens who are able to apply their common sense to the matter of determining the guilt or innocence of someone accused of an offence. Jurors represent diverse backgrounds and therefore, individual prejudices are likely to be neutralised. Nigeria at one time in the past embraced the inclusion of the jury, especially in criminal cases as in looting of the national treasury by ungodly and unscrupulous elements of the public. The killing off of such a sincere legal umpire could be traced to the immorality of the political class, who are able to easily buy and imprison the conscience of the judges with their stolen wealth, and with impunity, forever conceal their notoriety at times of trials.

More than 400,000 people are randomly chosen for jury service in the UK each year (per Bureau of National Statistics). In the new order of waging war against indiscipline by the Buhari government, it will be of public interest to bring back the jury to assist in cleansing the rotten stable of the judiciary. Every juror believed to be unknown or unrelated to the suspect and having nothing to do with the case beforehand will examine the case with greatest exactitude and minuteness. That will wipe out the tradition of impunity for its antidote tendencies. We no longer wish to put up with a dysfunctional tradition. We want to live in the present and the only history that is worth a tinker’s dam is the history we make today. After all, the sun that rises in the East of the nation shines its light over the rest in good time for all to blossom together.

So Buhari by delivering good governance on the premise of deleting corruption from our society will put us in good stead of always in the process of achieving, unless we give up and stop trying.

PUNCH