Our attention has been drawn to recent legal skirmishes in Nigeria, regarding the Office of the Attorney-General versus a high-ranking Public Official in Nigeria. While we are not adjudging any accused persons as guilty or innocent, until the matter is fully adjudicated; however, It is time to address the evolving “judicial lunacy” in Nigerian, where Nigerians of means, from Politicians, to Bankers, to Businessmen/women, to Drug Dealers, to Kidnappers, all attempt to buy themselves justice, by “forum shopping”, to procure court injunctions, to stop legitimate prosecutions on charges against them.
No One should be Above the Law, Above the Nation, or Above the People
From a legal perspective, there is something patently wrong with parties seeking injunctions to stop prosecutions on live criminal charges, without seeking to be procedurally proven “guilty” or “not guilty” on the merits, in a court of law; or without what legal professionals call “Res Judicata”.
As any elementary school child in the US or any other country that operates within the “rule of law” will tell you, the prosecution in any country works for the “people”. Therefore a federal charge sheet in the US would say: The United States of America vs. john doe/jane doe or whatever the accused’s name is. Similarly a federal charge sheet in Nigeria should also say The Federal Republic of Nigeria or perhaps “Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) vs. Oluwole or Okafor or Abubakar. The charge sheet invokes the will of the “people of Nigeria”, who have been harmed or violated, by the act perpetrated on them by the accused, as citizens of a sovereign nation.
On Frivolous Injunctions
In the past 15 years or so, Nigerians and the world have started seeing surreptitious frivolous perpetual injunctions; in favor of accused persons in Nigeria. These persons would rather procure injunctions, than fight their cases in court, and prove their innocence on the merits. To the best of our knowledge, one of the earliest examples of this practice of perpetual injunctions was the case of Peter Odili of Rivers State. Since then we have seen some Nigerian judges issue rulings that are not grounded in law or merit.
To say that the Nigerian judiciary is facing unprecedented compromise, by wealthy accused persons, is an understatement. It is also a clear and present danger that the last hope of a civilized society, a fair system of “Justice”--fair to the accused, as well as fair to the people (as represented by the DPP) is in danger.
Alerting the Nations Judicial Council
We are appalled at these developments, and if the Nigerian Bar Association, the Nigerian Judicial Council or its equivalent, do not begin to look into these matters, then we will be forced to use our Nigerian-based Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) partners, to begin to monitor the assets of Nigerian Judges and their families worldwide. Especially, when the Judges have been known to issue such frivolous injunctions, which are not grounded in law or merit, to shield accused persons from prosecutions.
As full stakeholders in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, we will not stand-by and let a select few Nigerians, whether high-ranking political figures or businessmen/women, in collusion with some bad Judges, to proceed to intimidate 180 million Nigerians into submission to their corrupt ways.
We will be watching intently for any signs of perversion of justice in these matters and will act swiftly to defend justice as necessary, for the hapless 180 million other Nigerians.
Nigerian American Leadership Council (www.nalcouncil.org) Washington, DC.
Tel: 202 379-2848, Ext. 101,