by Joe Onwukeme
A society where the last hope of the common man is reduced to an avenue where justice is peddled and sold to the corrupt and mighty is no better than Hobbesian Society where lives are brutish, nasty and short. Here in Nigeria, the story is not different; the last hope of the common man has over the years been reduced to an epitome of crudity and unbridled greed.
Nigerian Judiciary has become a playground for professional politicians and their cronies who engage the services of highly influential personalities at the bar to get favourable judgments whenever they are charged to court for financial crimes or corrupt practices.
In the past, judges were the conscience of the State; their judgments were pronounced without fear or favour, hence the reason the court of law is referred to as the last hope of the common man, not until they allowed themselves to be contaminated by the spoils in the political office. The rot in the Nigerian judiciary like decomposing corpse left to rot has been stinking to high heavens. Several cases abound where cash was exchanged for justice, where court injunctions/restraining order became the only language of the bench and in the process delayed and denied Nigeria justice. Those who were supposed to be in jail were acquitted, some on few occasions asked to pay a fine from their wallets or back of their boots.
How can we make any meaningful progress in the war against corruption when the institution saddled with such responsibility is being used to manipulate and frustrate the process with hard currency induced judgments?
The reported man hunt and arrest of those at the bench who have been alleged to have received bribe in hard currencies from desperate politicians to rule in their favour has unearthed the Augean of mess in the judiciary. It is a right step in the right direction but it shouldn’t be limited to judges alone, Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), court registrars and all those who have aided and abated in thwarting justice in the past should also face the melody of prosecution, it will go a long way in sanitizing the system and restoring trust and confidence to the once revered and sacred judicial system.
How and why the bench allowed themselves to be dragged by agents of corruption infested politicians into the murky waters of politics is what many of these judges will be explaining to Nigerians in subsequent days when they appear in court, same court they have used to deny Nigeria justice. What an irony!