The Judiciary and Appellate Courts in Nigeria have been enjoined to be consistent, firm and to consolidate the implementation of the new administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.
To the advocates, this the courts can do by shunning every form of inducements and manipulations to delay the process and deliver decisive and fair judgments on all corruption cases in the country.
The advice was given by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), a non-profit organisation in a release issued in Abuja recently by its Executive Director, Mr. Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani).
The organisation, in its release, commended the judiciary for the judgment against the ex-governor of Plateau State, Senator Joshua Dariye, who was handed down a 14-year sentence on Tuesday June 12, for misappropriation of funds during his tenure as governor after a trial which lasted 11 years.
According to Rafsanjani, “This judgment, coming shortly after the 14-year sentence of ex-governor of Taraba State, Jolly Nyame, on corruption charges in May this year without an option of fine, is a step towards restoring the confidence of the citizens in the fight against corruption, although long overdue.
“We note that, until recently, despite numerous allegations and court proceedings levelled against Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs), it is worrisome that many of them move in and out of the country without consequences regarding the allegations of embezzlement and misuse of funds levelled against them. It is embarrassing to Nigerians and the nation as a whole that many of these PEPs, who still contest elections in some states, have not been handed down a decisive sentence.
“We therefore call on the judiciary and appellate courts to be consistent and firm and consolidate the implementation of the new administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, by shunning every form of inducements and manipulations to delay the process to delay and deliver a decisive and fair judgment on all corruption cases.
“These decisive judgments are necessary to boost the morale of anti-corruption agencies and anti-corruption activists and also restore citizens’ confidence in the judiciary, and to serve as deterrent to other public office holders who have plans to dip their hands into public treasury. It will also help boost the image of the country which has suffered in the recent past due to corruption.”
CISLAC also called on the relevant anti-corruption agencies to carry out their primary functions without fear or favour in the fight against corruption.
It further called on the civil society, the media and all well-meaning Nigerians to maintain close vigilance on elected political leaders, especially as elections begin and strive to resist political coercion that will further divide the nation along tribal and religious lines.
“We must remain steadfast in advocacy for the establishment of frameworks that will strengthen the institutional and governance frameworks and ensure strict compliance with extant laws and regulations.
“We call on the National Assembly to support the government by ensuring the passage of all pending Anti-Corruption Bills. CISLAC remains committed to monitoring the government to ensure that she fulfils her promises to the citizens of our great country”, the release added.