The counter-allegations of suspected corruption crimes being shoved down the minds of the people following the recent ‘can of worms’ opened by the arrest of some judges based on suspected corrupt practices are fundamentally designed to distract attention from the real issues. Without mincing words, it validates the position that indeed, sharp practices of humongous dimensions have been and apparently continues to be perpetrated in the Nigerian ‘Temple of Justice’.
The counter-allegations being put forward by Justice John Okoro for instance, betrays the reality that the existence of corruption in the judiciary is deep-seated and had been sort of institutionalized. Okoro who was one of those arrested by the DSS operatives, accused the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, a former Rivers State Governor, of asking him to influence the apex court’s decision on poll judgment in Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Abia states.
Assuming without conceding that Justice Okoro is right, the fundamental question to ask is – why did he wait till when he was arrested and charged with allegations of corruption to reveal that to the legally necessary quarters and the public as a honourable Judge well schooled in law and its applications?
And then do the counter-allegations erode the gravity of the corruption crimes the judges are being judicially made to answer for? Are the counter-allegations evidence-based? The DSS acted on an evidence-based operation, the right thinking Nigerian knows that if the DSS had not carried out the arrest of the suspected corrupt judges, Justices, like John Okoro and Sylvester Ngwuta would have seen no evil, and heard no evil.
Let no frivolous counter-allegations from suspects of corruption in particular hinder the very important need to cleanse the judiciary of the cockroaches, rats and mosquitoes. Let elements that have allegations substantiate them with evidences in the law courts, in others words, nobody is above the law, and whoever the law pronounces culpable should face the constitutional consequences.
Nigeria must move forward, the attempt to use illogical distractions to solicit public sympathy over corruption crimes is not acceptable and will fail. On all suspected corruption criminals; we once again call on all the anti-graft and law enforcement agencies be diligent and thorough in their investigations and prosecutions, just as we emphasize the need for operating within the rule of law.
Media Coordinator, CACOL
October 21, 2016
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