By Henry Uche, Lagos
As many Nigerians express doubt over the genuineness in the fight against corruption by this administration, the Executive Secretary, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Prof Sadiq Isah Radda, has affirmed that lawyers in the country are the major Problem in this course.
Speaking in Lagos at the public presentation of the 5th edition of “Compendium of 100 High Profile Corruption Cases in Nigeria” organised by Human & Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre), the Professor of Criminology, maintained that the legal luminaries have turned the fight against corruption into a business venture.
According to him, lawyers are willing to take up high profile cases just to make money from them and would do anything to scuttle the process using technicalities and other shenanigans at the detriment of justice.
“There is also corruption in the executive because some ministers are corrupt, some Legislative members are also corrupt, but the ball is on the court of the judiciary, if they can set the standard, the executive and National assembly have no option but to cooperate.
“If the judiciary says this is the law, but it does not apply to them, who is fooling who? Judges and lawyers must respect the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, that Act was designed to clear off unnecessary and incessant court adjournments and impediments to speedy administration of Justice, but they have abandoned it deliberately.”
He asserted that the present government has exerted significant effort to fight corruption, but much has not been achieved because of the peculiarities of Nigerians especially the judiciary – lawyers in particular.
“We all are involved in what is happening to us, even the institutions from both divides are not helping matters,” He urged the EFCC boss to be sincere and ensure his subordinates are honest too.
“Nigerians are tired of technicalities. The judiciary must cooperate. Most lawyers are the big problem. There are decent ones though. Thou should be guided by their ethics and values. Those looking for money from the legal Profession should go to the farm. Justice is not a commercial commodity. It determines the Socio-economic growth and development of the country. Nigerians deserve justice. If you commercialize your Profession it becomes useless,” he added.
Speaking also, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika, called on economic and political leaders to redeem the future by teaching a lesson. He urged the anti-corruption agencies to begin to fish out every accomplice of any Corrupt act, instead of going after the figureheads.
“What happens to the banks through which monies exchange hands? The banks are one of the most corrupt institutions. They enable corruption. They should be charged too. All these corrupt practices would not take place without the banks. Then some personnel in different MDAs like Directors, Commissioners, Permanent Secretaries etc are involved, what happened to them? They too should be charged,”
He added that the future should be taught some lessons by nailing every person and corporates involved in any criminality from the least to the highest. “Some state officials below the governors and banks are allowing and enabling this crime and they would continue to do so until you make them realize that your own freedom and business would be in jeopardy when this blows up, that is what I meant by teaching the future a lesson, discouraging others,” he added.