The Failings of the Judiciary: What We Lost In N23billion to Pension Thief by Falayi Opeyemi
The ordinary citizen in Nigeria will never see the Judiciary as the last hope of the common man because they feel oppressed by the rich due to some ridiculous judgments that have been delivered under our Criminal Justice System. The Judiciary, when not guilty of delay in delivering justice, is guilty of bias or unfair judgment or in most cases, guilty of both alas, justice is delayed and equally be denied.
Lately, the Nigeria Judicial System has failed to deliver ‘appropriate’ judgment to public office holders cum looters who apparently derive joy in embezzling our commonwealth. One of such cases where justice have been denied is that of James Onanefe Ibori, the former Governor of Delta State, who was inexplicably discharged and acquitted on all charges brought against him here in a Nigerian Court but was rather effortlessly convicted on virtually the same offences in far away Britain after pleading guilty to same. Before the Court ruling that acquitted James Ibori, the Nigeria Judiciary has delivered some abysmal judgments on cases involving public office holders who have looted the treasury of this nation with impunity.
Tafa Balogun, the former Police I.G was jailed for just 6 months for stealing N7billion. Bode George equally was jailed for 30 months for contract fraud worth N100billion. Furthermore, Cecilia Ibru the former M.D of the now defunct Oceanic Bank was sentenced to just 6 months in prison. The trend of these rather abysmal judgments is endless.
While I thought the Judgment delivered by the London Southwark Crown Court, which sentenced James Ibori to a 13year jail term without an option of fine, and still made him forfeit all the properties he acquired with the looted funds amounting to a staggering £50million (N13billion) will serve as a wakeup call to the Nigerian Judges nay Courts, another regrettable and rather unfortunate Judgment was delivered again on Monday 28, January 2013. An Abuja High Court headed by Justice Abubakar Mahmud Talba sentenced Mr. Yakubu Yusuf a former boss of the Police Pensions Board to a 2 years jail term with an option of N750,000 for stealing N23billion (an amount that is almost double the James Ibori loot). What a Judgment!!!
I did an analysis of the N23billion stolen by Mr. Yusuf John Yakubu and came to the conclusion that if he chooses not to invest the stolen money on any business whatsoever, it will take him 63 years to exhaust that N23billion, assuming he spends N1million every day, but which insane mind will spend such an amount of money anyway except in Nigeria where anything can happen. The breakdown goes thus:
365 days = 1 year
Convert 63 years to days = 365 x 63 = 22,995 days
Now multiply 22,995 days x N1, 000,000 = 22,995,000,000 still left with N5million naira for his burial arrangement when he is finally gone to hell am sure.
In other words, if Mr. Yusuf is so prudent to want to spend N500, 000 daily from the N23billion he admitted to stealing, it will take him 126 years to exhaust the said sum. THAT IS HOW HUGE N23BILLION IS!
Recently, Channels TV exposed the rot in the Police College Ikeja. The documentary did a good job by exposing the humiliation a Nigerian Police Cadet Officer goes through during training. With that N23billion, the Ministry of Police Affairs (I am sure) will fix the dilapidated hostels and lecture theatres coupled with other facilities that are in bad shape at the eyesore that is the Police College Ikeja.
It is common knowledge how Officers and Men of the Nigerian Police Force suffer the hardship of proper accommodation. It’s so bad that most of them are often embarrassed by street hoodlums who see them as their enemy. The N23billion stolen by Mr. Yusuf if invested in a housing scheme by the Ministry of Police Affairs will provide 8,000 units of mini 2 bedroom flat for our Policemen at the price N2.7million per unit as informed by a local housing contractor. This will provide good housing for our Policemen and enable them give their best in service as well as encourage them to shy away from corruption which has become a cankerworm in the Force. THAT IS HOW EFFECTIVE N23BILLION COULD BE!
It is also note worthy that the N23billion embezzled by Mr. Yusuf is over and above the 2013 budget allocation to the Ministries of Mines and Steal (N13billion), Environment (N21billion) and a little below that of the Ministry of Lands and Housing (N24billion).
The Chinese government on Monday 28, January 2013, handed over to Nigeria, a 150-bed hospital, fully furnished with state of the art equipment. The entire structure and furniture cost $12.5million, about 1.9billion. The N23billion stolen by Mr. Yusuf will build at least 12 well equipped hospitals, the type that the Chinese donated to Nigeria on Monday. Imagine 12 well equipped hospitals distributed in the six geopolitical zones. Imagine the millions of lives the hospital could save, the billion our nation could save from overseas medical tourism. Imagine! Imagine!! Imagine!!!
As I conclude my writing on the ridiculous judgment of justice Talba, I saw a news that our judiciary did another wonder in ikare, Ondo state on 29th January, 2013. a day after the famous justice Talba’s judgment. One 23years old Adepoju was sentenced to 3years without an option of fine for stealing a N17, 000 worth of blackberry handset! What kind of justice system sentences petty criminals to 3years and 2years in prison for stealing a handset and vegetable respectively, yet set free another man whose crime has resulted into countless death of pensioners while waiting in queue to collect their unavailable pension.
It is really disheartening that the said N23billion stolen by Mr. Yusuf Yakubu, was money meant for the payment of retired Police Officers that have served these country meritoriously (albeit ostensibly) who ought to be compensated but have been allowed to die of hunger and starvation because of one man’s greed and insatiable thievery.
A couple of days after the debacle that is the Justice Talba Judgment on Mr. Yakubu, the EFCC were reported to have re-arrested him for another crime bothering on failure to declare assets. This is a welcome development as it will enable the Judiciary right it’s wrong by handing down a
stiffer punishment on Mr. Yusuf for his act which could not be differentiated from that of Mr. James Ibori who bagged 13 years in prison in London.
He should equally be charged for economic/financial terrorism (if there is anything as such) as that singular act have killed hundreds of retired police officer and rendered others that are still alive “living corpses”. This act, in my view, is not different from that of Henry Okah convicted in South Africa for the October 1st, 2010 bombing which also left tens of citizens dead and some wounded.
If our corrupt politicians and civil servants under this government thinks they can continue to
Purchase judgment from our court through fraudulent lawyers and government agency like EFCC, it is just a matter of time when the long hand of the law shall catch up with them.
This writer is inspired by young writers like:
Dada Olusegun @Dolusegun
Bukola Ogunyemi @zebbook
The writer is also on twitter @FalayiOpeyem
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