Monday, January 16, 2017 10:50 am
A lecturer at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun state, Prof. Omotoye Olorode, has described the privatisation of the country’s national assets as the greatest form of corruption.
He made this statement while delivering his keynote address entitled, “Corruption in Nigeria, Judiciary, Law: A Political Economy of Private Economy”, at the 13th Chief Gani Fawehinmi Annual Memorial lecture and symposium held at the Airport Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos on Sunday.
The theme of this year lecture was, “Nigeria Anti-Corruption War: Whither The Legal Profession and The Judiciary?”
Olorode pointed out that there is a political corruption of the Nigerian public by the ruling class, adding that it is unsurprising to see the charade by political party corruption play out in the judiciary.
The OAU don further accused the ruling class of flagrant disobedience of court orders, particularly when their positions of leadership came under threat.
According to him,“Privatisation is the ultimate looting programme; one of the diseases of the populace is the forced amnesia imposed on the populace which makes them forget all that has happened to them.”
“War against corruption is a political action, we have to ask ourselves who are leading the war, is it the political class or the populace ?” he asked rhetorically.
Femi Falana in his words, said corruption can only be dealt a big blow only if it is champion by the masses rather than the government.
He said that it would be unrealistic to expect the government or the people in position of authority who are the major beneficiaries of corrupt practices to fight the scourge effectively.
He added that no government all over the world fights corruption because the people in government are the most corrupt, urging Nigerians to rise and take up the fight and owns it, else the menace cannot be abolished in the country.
Former President of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN), Charles Oputa, a.k.a Charly Boy on his part, rues the sorry state of the country’s judicial system, saying his late father, a retired justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Chukwudifu Oputa, will be cringing in his grave over the high level of corruption in the judiciary.
He laments that the people are being looted by all sides by the government and religious leaders who continuously hypnotize the eople with miracles, signs and wonders.
Charly Boy as he is fondly called, disclosed that he is currently involved in an activism project titled, ‘our mumu don do’; an avenue through which he believes the judiciary can be cleaned off by a movement led by the masses.
He said lawyers have become contractors, judges opening megabanks in their homes at their villages, while justice in the country comes at a price.
While noting that not all members of the bar and bench are corrupt, he said that the docility of the Nigerian populace has to be addressed with the emancipation of their minds because the humanity of Fawehinmi no longer exists in the country.
A Justice of the Court of Appeal in the Gambia, Prof. Jacob Dada, while speaking at the event, said 2016 cannot be forgotten due to the unprecedented raids of the homes of alleged corrupt judges.
He said that this development exposed the legal profession to a lot of public opinions which culminated into a huge dent on the legal profession.
He said that some of these perceptions are caused by horrendous and inexplicable delays in the cases of corruption and the delivery of ridiculous and deplorable judgments.
He added that the scourge of corruption which resulted in the investigation of judges leading to their resignation and retirement is a cause of these perceptions.
Dada said that Nigeria had enough “weapons” at her disposal to combat and degrade corruption, adding “we must appreciate and realise that without battles, there will be no victories.”
The Chairman of the occasion, Pa Tunji Gomez enjoined lawyers to avoid corrupt practices, while advocating for a code of conduct that abhors corruption.
Gomez who noted that corruption had infiltrated every aspect of Nigerian society, said, “We are a society of corruption, the judges, lawyers, the police and the military are corrupt.
He said curing a society of corruption starts with the people, adding that the people must stage this fight.
The Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja Branch, Mr Adeshina Ogunlana, noted that the late Fawehinmi embraced the programme and passionately supported the annual lecture during his lifetime.
He said the legal luminary made provisions for the annual programme in his will before he passed on adding that the support for the programme was paid for promptly by the executors of his estate.
Ogunlana said that due to his support, the NBA has been hosting the programme for 12 unbroken years since 2005.