It is clear to me that we are not at all serious about fighting corruption in Nigeria. Perhaps a handful are, but certainly the majority are not as they are happy with our severely corrupt system and society.
I am not familiar with any country where the sort of judgement Kalu got today would have been delivered. One would think Nigeria is the only law abiding country in the world where technicalities must always becloud our sense of justice. We are not saying the man – Kalu – is not guilty or guilty of the offence for which he was tried. We are saying the Judge who sat over the trial suddenly got promoted to a higher court and therefore is no longer able to convict the accused by virtue of his promotion. I don’t know law but too many times it sucks. This one in particular is irritating.
Justice Mohammed Idris was elevated to the Court of Appeal while trying this case. He returned to the Federal High Court to complete the case (deliver judgement really). He couldn’t have just taken that decision on his own. The leadership of both courts (his bosses) must have given him the go ahead because it makes sense to complete the case after listening to arguments on both sides. If the people who decided the judge should conclude the case were not sure, couldn’t they have sought the opinion of the Chief Justice of the Federation? In the wisdom of the seven (7) Supreme Court Justices it makes sense to start this case all over again.
Orji Kalu’s case started in 2007 shortly after he left office. He was granted bail in 2008 and has been in and out of court since then. A total of 19 witnesses were called and the case lasted 12 years! The hours put in by both sides lawyers, court staff, witnesses, journalists and the average Nigerian especially those from Abia State whose money was stolen. All of these has gone to waste because one man was promoted and while we should have been happy for him, now we probably wish he was never promoted, don’t we?
Lawyers know how to beat the system and look for loopholes. They always use it successfully, it is their job to do so. They get handsome reward for their naughtiness too.
Our Supreme Court needs to wake up to the national call of Nigerians for a clean up of the system. This judgement is stinking and we can’t breathe from this stench. They need to work with the National Assembly to clean up the mess around our justice system. Don’t they feel any shame relating to people from other countries? They need to bring in their body and soul, their hearts to join us in the fight against corruption and stop pretending they are following the law. Which law are the following? This is really foolish to let more than 12 years of hard work and a difficult court trial to come to nothing because some seven people sit in judgement to pronounce this nonsense. They will all answer to God! I will too. I am devastated about this escape through the back door.
By Gbolahan Gbadamosi
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