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Clampdown on Judges: Raiding the Raiders By Tunde Odesola



Raiding the Raiders By Tunde Odesola

Ipso facto is a Latin term employed by the apostles in the temple of justice to describe the obvious, the incontrovertible; it means that the fact speaks for itself. The most profound minds in the country have argued back and forth on this nonissue called raid on judges’ homes such that there is nothing more to add. It’s a nonissue to me because if wishes were horses, I would wish that 97 per cent of our judges, especially, those of the Supreme and Appeal courts be locked in one large dungeon, soaked in petrol and burnt.

Why this harsh verdict on judges, Tunde?!! I will explain.

Of the three arms of government, which one is the most important? Which one is the fulcrum on which societal peace; harmony, equity and justice rest? I will say ipso facto; the fact speaks for itself.

Muhammadu Buhari is our president. He has enormous EXECUTIVE powers of life and death! If he says let there be, there will be!!! Bukola Saraki is the symbol of our legislature. He is also a president. He’s the No: 3 man in the country. The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Muhammed, is the symbol of the country’s judiciary. On paper, he appears to be the meekest and the weakest of the three principal symbols of our democracy and sovereignty. But is he? Buhari and Saraki know better.

The executive and the legislature are always locked in the proverbial tongue and teeth battle, fighting and bickering, and making up like an Igbo wife married to a lazy and poor Hausa man working under an exploitative Yoruba bricklayer.

The judiciary is the oesophagus, the throat, the soak-away through which the juice, honey, dirt, muck, mucus and filth generated by the TONGUE and TEETH must pass. Both the TONGUE and the TEETH cannot do without the OESOPHAGUS because the whole body (country) owes its existence to it.

It is better to have a drunken President like GEJ, or a drunken governor like that departed South-West governor, who was fond of wearing a necklace, drinking Gulder and partying, or a drunken senator like ACOOME, or a roguish senator like Ubah or Farouq Lawan but it is suicidal for any country to have a judge that is unstable in character, let alone be a rogue. And when the portals of justice have been desecrated by the very high priests who should wield the Sword of Damocles, what hope does the common man have?

How many persons accused of corruption have been successfully tried since President Muhammadu Buhari began his clampdown against corruption? None! Because the corrupt have discovered that the way to negate the anti-corruption campaign is through the judiciary. And Buhari is justifiably frustrated. He is seeing his campaign being blown into smithereens. Orubebe, Diezani, Kashamu, Saraki, Ekweramadu, and a host of others accused of corruption have exploited the greed in the judiciary.

The upholding of the Rivers election was the height of judicial recklessness! The world saw the killings, arson and violence that characterised Rivers election. But our judges didn’t see all of that.

When the NJC, CJN, SANs and lawyers in the country didn’t bury their heads in shame when Britain nailed James Onanefe Ibori after he was found blameless in Nigeria, I knew there was no shred of shame in the country’s judiciary. Some newspaper houses came out to deny being part of Nduka Obaigbena’s money sharing to media houses during the ruinous Jonathan era. The guilty ones didn’t because the EFCC has evidence against them. THE PUNCH was the first newspaper to come out to say it never received any funding from Goonathan.

Remember Lucky Igbinedion’s 142-count of $24m alleged fraud, and the shocking ruling by a court, which asked him to pay only N3m and go home! What about the upholding of the Enugu State election? Ha?! What about the various spurious injunctions churned out by our shameless Milords?

What about the various contradictory rulings by various judges on the same election petition?! It is in Nigeria that lawyers would write rulings for judges. It is in Nigeria that lawyers would engage in phone text conversations with judges when trial is ongoing. When people say lawyers are liars, what would they call judges, bandits, of course!!

The age-long reason why parents advise their children not to study law is now becoming clearer to me.

Every country is the architect of its own fortune or misfortune. I won’t blame Buhari for employing a most unconventional way to clean our Augean stable because a terrible situation deserves a drastic solution.

The Philippines President, Rodrigo Duterte, called Barack Obama the son of a whore and challenged him to a debate on the propriety of The Philippines using capital punishment to stem the tide of drug abuse in his (Duterte) country.

Drug is ruining Mexico and Columbia and Peru and Nicaragua and others. Saudi Arabia, China, Qatar, Malaysia, North Korea etc don’t suffer drug pushers gladly. Every country must evolve its own salvation and develop homegrown solutions to its own problems. Japan doesn’t even allow Islam in its territory.

A large number of those crying foul over this clampdown are those who are looking for ‘favours’ from the judiciary. I can understand why Nyeson Wike, Orji Uzor Kalu and a host of others defendants in various cases are crying more than the bereaved.

Italian security agencies just carried out sting operations on judges in the country. The surprise element is needed when investigating cases against judges because, unlike you and I, judges, expectedly, know the law, and can twist the law in their favour, more so, when there is no evidence against them. The EFCC needed evidence against them and that cannot be got by inviting them. In getting their evidence, did the EFCC err law-wise? No! No! No!

For me, the Buhari administration is not inspiring. In fact, it is directionless, petty, hypocritical, lacking ideas and insincere, but Nigeria needs to sanitise her odour-oozing judiciary.

If Buhari doesn’t do it, who would? The putrid NJC? The secretive NJC that told an erring judge to refund N200m without recommending such a judge for prosecution? An NJC that takes donkey’s years to give recommendation on corrupt judges? Only last week, the NJC said it had found 70 judges culpable for various misdemeanors. Abeg, how many are the judges in the country that the NJC would find 70 as corrupt? 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9……40 41….52 53 60…68 69 70!!!!!! Jeeeeessssuuuu!!!

Not even in the saintly Nigerian police have we ever had 70 erring police officers singled out for sanction at a particular time.

Oluwa miii, eyi o wa poju!!!!Gbenga Adeboye, God bless Nigeria.

Tunde Odesola

Tunde Odesola

Tunde Odesola is a journalist and public analyst.

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