A senior law enforcement official in the
present Jonathan’s administration, Mrs Waziri, the Chairman
of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC),
recently expressed her frustration in public, over a
judiciary system that still lacks independence, even as the
country hits the political age and years of fifty!
Certainly, the entire justice system and those that act in
the capacity of dispensing justice, and help in
administering the law should only be about one objective ,
that is, a country built on respect for the rule of law.
It is time that our people should be told that the judiciary
is supposed to know no “big man” or “big woman” or elite.
In other words, in Nigeria the law should top anything else
but Mrs Waziri , an insider of the current administration
has observed something sinister about our court system.
Mrs Waziri, during the delivery of a paper entitled “The
EFCC’s critical Role in growing the Nigerian economy” at the
breakfast meeting of the Nigeria-British Chamber of Commerce
in Lagos; noted that corruption continues to have
considerable influence on judges and magistrates, thereby
losing their independence.
The police system remains full of abuses resulting in
prosecuting cases with bribery in the hands and minds of
The incoming Jonathan Presidency should put in place
professional awareness exercises for court officials,
showing them that they can only serve during proper or good
behavior, and their salary will be fixed as well as
increased to a much more higher amount in order to make sure
that the wealthy or the powerful does not influence their
It is essential that the next Jonathan Administration take
out bold and objective measures that signal for the
preservation of the rights of every one in Nigeria as it
relates to an impartial interpretation of our laws and
dispensation of justice.
Since training alone will not some minds, it is time for
every court official, from the messenger, clerk, prosecutor,
magistrate and to the judge to take an oath charging them
with protecting and upholding the laws, and agreeing to
immediate legal ramifications like an instant guilt,
conviction and imprisonment if they are found to make false
conclusions on criminal cases, as such acts are bound to
obstruct the administration of Justice.
Mrs Warizi’s is concerned about those freed after being
arrested for fraudulent practices, and such concern could be
reduced if the incoming Jonathan administration introduces a
House arrest system which involves the wearing of bracelet
leg irons, ankle chains, and other forms of house arrest
There will always be those who deliberately believe that
they are above the Law and can always fake their ways
through a corrupt police and court system.
We have been informed by Mrs Waziri that since 2003, the
commission has recuperated at least 11 billion dollars with
6.5 billion dollars recuperated under her administration.
Okay, part of that money should go into stabilizing various
branches of the justice system by employing skillful and
ethical court officials to help set up proper systems for
the administration of justice.
The new Jonathan Presidency should use its executive power
to re-create a judicial system in order to avoid or bypass
the usual snail like approach of the legislature to many
issues that continue to plague the legal system.
The new Jonathan Presidency should boldly remind the judges
and magistrates to always remain women and men of exemplary
morals who should not let their minds be distracted with
monetary interests; and they should clearly not be dependent
upon corrupt defendants.
The incoming Jonathan Presidency must see to the practice of
a system of independent and impartial judiciary that will
allow for the effective implementation of the rule of law in
our courts. This goal cannot be met if in the name of
separation of power the office of the Attorney-General is
not properly monitored against corrupt interferences,
monetary pressure, and poor management.
All kinds of training will be meaningless if the process of
appointing judges, magistrates, prosecutors (it is time that
they all certified lawyers and not police officers), and
other court officials is improper and biased in terms of
social or ethnic connection/nepotism.
The incoming Jonathan Presidency should to assure the
citizens that there will be a system of disciplinary
processes against corrupt judiciary across the federal,
State and local courts.
Our courts could become more strengthened by putting in a
system that could make it difficult for any member of the
judiciary to become successful in the destruction of
evidence and in the delay of hearings.
The intimidation or even the murdering of government
witnesses continues to dramatically undermine the effective
execution of cases; therefore a new system of security
measures is needed to help the judiciary function well.
The new Jonathan Presidency must see to the fact that
recovered assets, seized monies, or confiscate goods are put
into use in needy places and for needy persons.
It is time we have in place full blown formal systems that
ensures accountability from the various judicial personnel,
the prosecutors, magistrates and judges especially and this
could be done by effectively using safeguards like asset
Our courts could become more institutionally strengthened by
bringing in a modern case management systems which could
allow for better dissemination of cases, and it is time to
fully execute procedures that allow for the report of
complaints by citizens as transparency and trust are better
enhanced in this way. Our ultimate goal is to have an almost
perfect justice-based mechanism that allows for inflexible,
open and uniform application of the law as it relates to
rights of the people and the constitution.
All the people want is for the government to reflect
fairness as it uses its justice system to pass judgment on
the persons or property of Nigerians, and other Nigerian
residents without regard to influence or money.
The new Jonathan Presidency must realize that no
institutional power can hope to resolve issues of such
significance like a corrupt judiciary without provoking
agitation among the powerful, and as the country ushers into
a new government, let its words and deeds reflect a real
democratic society as it relates to the essential qualities
of a judiciary—independence, equal justice, and impartial
John EgbeazienOshodi, Ph.D., DABPS; FACFE; is a Licensed
Clinical/Forensic Psychologist; Diplomate of American Board
of Psychological Specialties; Fellow of American College of
Forensic Examiners (For Psy); Former Interim Associate Dean
and an Assistant Professor of Psychology, Broward College -
North Campus, Coconut Creek, Florida. firstname.lastname@example.org