This is the official blog of the Nigeria-based Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), a human rights organization which promotes, protects and projects the rights of Muslims. This group condemns terrorism and all acts of violence. Its motto is 'Dialogue, Not Violence'
Monday, December 11, 2017
APPEAL COURT RULING ON EFCC: IT IS CAMARADERIE ABRACADABRA
APPEAL COURT RULING ON EFCC:
IT IS CAMARADERIE ABRACADABRA
Lagos Court of Appeal today ruled that the Economic and Financial Crimes
Commission (EFCC) does not have powers to investigate or prosecute serving judges
until after they have been dismissed by the National Judicial Council.
Rights Concern (MURIC) rejects this ruling. It is strange and unheard of in
law. It is a travesty of justice.
We are of the humble opinion that this decision is designed to
frustrate the Federal Government’s war against corruption. It is well known
that except in a military setting, no anti-corruption war can succeed in a
democracy without the cooperation of the judiciary and anti-graft fight will
remain a sham so long as corrupt judges are treated as sacred cows.
How can a corrupt judge be free from prosecution by anti-graft
agencies until the National Judicial Council (NJC) dismisses him? It is as
simple as granting corrupt judges immunity. We are greatly disappointed. We are
disappointed because the judiciary is the last hope of the common man. Yet the
same judiciary has let us down.
Corruption has been responsible for depriving the hoi polloi
of the dividends of democracy. It has been responsible for bad governance,
insecurity, epileptic power supply, poor health facilities, bad roads, decayed
infrastructure, etc and judges who collude with corrupt elements in society
have worsened the situation. Such judges deserve to be exposed and punished in
order to serve as deterrents to others. But the Appeal Court’s decision of
today has deflated the hope of the jamaahiir.
It is an
open secret that corrupt government officials are prosecuted while in service.
In fact their dismissal is always premised upon the pronouncement of guilt by
the court. It is not the other way round. We beg to disagree. Nigerians are of
the opinion that the judiciary is out to protect its own. Sentiment has been
allowed to creep into hallowed chambers. It is a miscarriage of justice. Nigerians
reject this camaraderie abracadabra.
It is an attempt to turn serving judges who are suspected of
foul play into sacred cows and the Alpha and Omega in judicial matters. The
Appeal Court’s ruling of today seeks to make a judge eat his cake and have it. The
bench seeks to procure immunity for judges who violate their oath of office. It
is judicial conspiracy. Those who interpret the law should not be above it. This
is the understanding of the principle of equality before the law in civilized
Will it be right for us to ask a court of competent jurisdiction
to wait while a committee of school principals determine the fate of a school
principal who is suspected of professional misconduct? Is he not one of them?
Didn’t they rise through the ranks together? Couldn’t he be keeping the secrets
of some members of the committee probing him? To that extent we may assume that
the Appeal Court is allowing judges suspected of corrupt enrichment to take
liberty for license.
It is like
saying teachers who commit atrocities in their schools cannot be arraigned
until the National Union of Teachers have investigated and indicted them. Or
that medical practitioners found wanting in the line of duty should not be
arraigned until the Medical Council sacks them. Where in the world is this allowed?
Songyou, former vice president of the Supreme People's Court of China was dismissed
in 2009 for misusing his power to seek profits for concerned people in return
for a huge amount of bribes, accepting money as presents illegally and living a
corrupt life. The Chinese Judicial Council was not allowed to intervene. Twenty
judges were sacked in Ghana in December 2015 over corruption while thirteen lower court judges
were sacked in Pakistan in April 2017 over corruption related cases.
To round up, we express Gibraltar Rock solidarity with the EFCC
in its battle against corruption. We charge the anti-graft agency to pursue
this particular case to the highest court in the land. We urge Nigerians to
stand up to be counted in the fight against corruption if indeed they want to
be liberated from the shackles of socio-economic oppression.
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)