CCT: Danladi Umar and The Task Before The Judiciary By Kuddi Haastrup
For a moment, I’d like to observe a minute silence on the dearth of the Nigerian judiciary. It is no longer news that quite a number of things are wrong with the most populous country In Africa, the list just got a new addition in the justice system desperately in need for a quick fix.
If there’s a reason as to why corruption is prevalence among politicians and government employees, the judiciary has been instrumental to such sedition. In this clime, all that is required is to know a few ‘highly placed’ Nigerians and Viola! You’re immune from being prosecuted even if evidence of gargantuan proportion were laid down before the prosecuting officer.
I have heard a scenario where a colleague alluded that ours is a special type of democracy and we must do things differently i.e. the boss way and not necessarily the right.
The Attorney General of the federation is currently treating the Bribery allegation charges brought against the Code of Conduct Tribunal Chairman Mr Danladi Umar the boss way despite the public outcry demanding the prosecution of the CCT chairman on grounds of the 10m bribe allegation and gross abuse of his office alongside the erstwhile EFCC Chairman Mr Ibrahim Lamorde.
The effects of a defective justice system is what we have witnessed in the past months with the Code of Conduct Tribunal incoherent allegations on Saraki’s asset declaration case – using the frail justice system as a tool for self interest and gamesmanship. The intrigue and politics being played out is a topic for another day, however, the timeliness of both cases do not correspond since the call for Umar DanLadi to step down emanated from the latest findings into his 2012 allegations of bribery.
It will be preposterous for anyone to even begin to think that a push for accountability in the judiciary has to do with one citizen, no one is above the law and justice must be dispensed with fairness at all times. Dan Ladi Umar is a victim of our failed judicial system and thus lacks the credibility to prosecute anyone at the moment. Despite the flaws in the Nigeria constitution, it has been observed that no time has it allowed for the non- independence of the judiciary, so why has the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) refused to use the power of duty accorded his office to check these acts of recklessness within the judiciary.
By implication, we encourage impunity as such unchecked occurrence sends a wrong message that if you have the backing of powerful forces within the Presidency; the law does not apply to you.
So far, the Buhari led government has renege on his ‘Change’ pledges to cleanse and weed out the rotten eggs within the judiciary. The inability of the President to relief Umar Dan Ladi of his position as the CCT Chairman is an indictment on his person and his vision for a virile judiciary capable of prosecuting corrupt public office holders. Dan Ladi is a round peg in a square hole; he is unfit to occupy that exalted position talk more of presiding over corrupt allegation cases.
I strongly support the call by the legislative arm to probe the Attorney General of the Federation on its failure to prosecute the CCT chairman despite overwhelming evidences against him. We owe it to ourselves as service to the nation to separate individuals from institutions, DanLadi Umar represents an institution and his account of stewardship must be investigated on the account of his activities in office.
What many Nigerians have realised is that the CCT chaired by Umar Danladi typical of the overall judiciary is burdened with corruption, patronage, nepotism, and sycophancy which has rendered the fight against corruption ineffectual.
Currently, the future looks bleak for the judiciary without a glimpse of hope at the epicentre; it will take some real effort to correct the anomaly if we’re serious about the anti-corruption crusade under this dispensation.
Kuddi Haastrup writes from Baltimore and can be reached via email –email@example.com