Endlessly Awaiting Trial in Nigeria; A National Shame!

by Paul I. Adujie

And why is it, that the NBA has been loudly supporting the current attorney general in what is clearly his double standards and hypocrisy regarding his loud and endless proclamation for the rule of law for Orji Uzor Kalu and James Onanefe Ibori and in the process, undermining other agencies and department of government which are fighting corruption?

Why is false imprisonment of poor Nigerian citizens, about 100,000 of them, not considered a national emergency

Why is the false detention without trial, and in other cases, false accusation for armed robbery, a capital offense, not considered a matter of such magnitude to warrant the attention of the highly esteemed NBA?

Why does the NBA appear these days, as if it is just a self-interested, self-absorbed and elitist trade group? The poor Nigerian citizens are neglected and abandoned to their misfortune imposed on them by corrupt police officers, because they are poor citizens, as a result of the humble circumstances of their birth?

All this, even as the NBA include Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) whose specialties these days, seem to be, just jostling endlessly to represent privileged Nigerians, who, incidentally, are vapidly corrupt, thanks to their unconscionable looting, pillaging and plundering of Nigeria’s public wealth.

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The now famous Rule of Law and Due Process Brigade in Nigeria, can take that, and kiss it! Ditto the courts! Somebody should whisper it to Nigerians, that Nigeria need radical surgery, precise radical surgery to remove the corrupt and corruption from our society! I hold the view, that, extraordinary infestations, such as corruption, demands vigorous solution.

Looting cause poverty, poverty, for which some Nigerians are detained falsely and when charged, are also falsely charged! Poverty is “the” crime in Nigeria. And corruption with impunity is rewarded with a slap on the wrists and a pat on the back of the corrupt public officials. While those who poverty is inflicted upon, by corruption, are doubly punished with endless false imprisonments. Talk about double jeopardy!

Why is the squalid, pungent and abject infectious diseased conditions in Nigerian detention centers not a matter that warrant and merit’s the preachments of the rule of law by the AG and the NBA itself? Is the rule law and due process exclusively for the rich and jails for the poor in Nigeria? Who exactly cries for the poor?

In recent times, I have had cause wonder about all of the above, in articles which are excerpted and follows Rule of Law Tainted-Coated With Impunity? Is there any evidence that Mr. Andoakaa consulted or contacted Nigeria Police, EFCC and ICPC before issuing all-clear to Mr. Ibori lawyers, advantage Mr. Ibori? It can also be observed, that Mr. Andoakaa has been unusually efficient and speedy, in matters concerning Mr. Kalu and now, Mr. Ibori.

Notice how quickly he responded to Mr. Ibori’s lawyers? How about some measure efficiency and speedy actions for poor Nigerians in detention without trial and are dying in decrepit prison conditions? Prison conditions in Nigeria are said to be abject and worse than squalid.

How about the rule of law and due process for those Nigerians awaiting trial for years and still in detentions? 100,000 of them! Whose interest does Mr. Andoakaa represent? Nigeria or looters?

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It is against this background that the average Nigerian are tired and truly frustrated with these preachment of the rule of law and due process that is elitist and never extended to the more than 100,000 prisoners and detainees in Nigerian prisons and detention centers, detainees and prisoners, who have not stolen billions of Naira. Prisoners and detainees, clearly, Nigerians in prisons and detentions who have not had their day in court, who have not benefited from due process and rule of law mantras!

Meanwhile, audacious criminals, the looters, the plunderers and pillagers ex-governors, public officials in Nigeria, are able to hire tons of lawyers and tens of Senior Advocates and generate tomes of spurious defenses based tenuously, fine principles and tenets of law, such as, the rule law and due process! Talk of notorious criminals wrapping themselves with our constitution when it is time to pay for their desecration of the same constitution!

Amnesty International recently released a report in connection with the appalling conditions in Nigeria‘s prisons and detention centers. Nigerians actually did not need Amnesty International to remind us of the decrepit and fetid conditions of prisons and detention centers in Nigeria. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo had a direct personal experience in the abject and squalid conditions in which detainees in Nigeria must live. As a result, as president of Nigeria, he established a prison decongestion commission. And now, we must ask, where are the recommendations or report of that commission? When will these reports and recommendations be implemented to ameliorate and alleviate the pungent conditions in which detainees in Nigeria are compelled to live?

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It seems to me that the appalling squalid and pungent conditions endured by detainees in Nigeria, should concern Nigeria‘s new attorney general and minister for justice. Further, it would seem that the attorney general and minister for justice would need to establish his self-proclaimed avowal as champion of the rule of law, with policies that will improve the conditions in prisons and detention centers in Nigeria.

Additionally, the attorney general must seek to establish his credentials as a rule of law champion, by establishing rules that would prevent needless detentions of persons in Nigeria. Currently, there are tens of thousands of Nigerians in prison cells and detention centers, and an overwhelming majority of these detainees are, “Awaiting Trials” most of these persons, are clearly innocents, who have been picked up by law enforcement agencies without justifications, if at all, for flimsy “reasons”

The attorney general and minister of justice, appears self-interested in the well-being of the upper class Nigerians. As he is obviously fixated on welfare of the ex-governors who are currently facing trials, and how longer, than 48 hours these looters may be detained by the EFCC. He is, in doing so, reaffirming Nigeria as a class conscious society with attendant social str

atifications, in the most negative ways. The poor are punished for being poor!

How is it that the self-proclaimed champion for the rule of law, the new attorney general, has not publicly placed his prison decongestion policies for national debate?

How is it that the attorney general has not bothered to articulate his thoughts and policy responses, to the well publicized appalling conditions in Nigerian prisons and detention centers?
Why has the attorney general and minister of justice not asked himself and supply the reasons why the average detainee in Nigeria spends more than 48 hours in detention?

Why has the attorney general and minister of justice not asked why Nigeria has so many “Awaiting Trials” detainees? Why does the attorney general seem to reserve his tears for looters and their prospects of being in prisons or detention centers for more than 48 hours? Why is he not similarly verbose and garrulous in worries about poor detainees?

Detention without trial and or, being falsely charged are inequities wrapped in unfairness and gross injustice, meted to Nigerian citizens who are poor. This tyrannical practice should have been dumped already, as relics of military governments. Detention of an innocent Nigerian citizen for ten years, is extremely perverse, it is an outrage! It is a national shame that should agitate all Nigerians, including the judiciary, all Nigerian lawyers, NBA corporate body and all political leaders in our nation

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