By Osaze Omoragbon
The rush by the anti-graft agencies especially the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to prosecute politically-exposed persons and fraudsters is undermining the fight against anti-corruption according to Justice Monica Dongban Mensem, President of the Court of Appeal in a goodwill message during a virtual conference to mark the African Union (AU) Day of Anti-Corruption organised by the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption (PACAC). “It seems there is a rush to prosecute by these agencies. But what we need is proper investigation and analysis of evidence to be able to prosecute well” she says. She called for training for judges, lawyers and investigators, who she says need special skills to get non-perishable evidence.
On the establishment of special courts, she says they are not necessary while calling on adequate protection for judges. “It is not good to appoint some judges to handle corruption cases. They will be subjected to undue pressure. It is important to safeguard the unpredictability of judicial outcomes” she noted.
For Chinwe Ndubueze, Assistant Director, Legal Department of the EFCC, the delay in the court system has taken its toll on the anti-corruption fight. Speed and efficiency, according to her, through the establishment of special courts will boost the anti-graft fight while also demonstrating to the international community Nigeria’s seriousness in fighting corruption “although it is not a silver bullet”.
Ensuring the safety of judges by providing adequate security personnel will bring about sanctity of the courts says honourable Luke Onofiok, Chairman House of Representative Committee on judiciary. “It is wrong for politicians to be moving about with pick-ups filled with policemen while judges go about with just a police orderly and you wonder why they are easily kidnapped” he says.