Anti-corruption group, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) has lauded the recent raid on federal judges saying there is need for circumspection in approaching the arrest of the suspected corrupt Judges in order to be able to do an objective analysis of the whole situation.
The group decries the hues and cries that followed the sting operation by the DSS, noting that it betrays the reality that some Nigerians claim they want real change or revolution, yet they fail to realize that achieving change necessitates taking drastic steps.
The group’s position was expressed at a media briefing held at the Humanity Centre in Lagos on Tuesday.
The Executive Chairman of the anti-corruption group, Comrade Debo Adeniran, said that there cannot be halfway measures and undue pampering of corruption suspects whether they are Judges, lawyers, Presidents, Governors, Legislators or whoever, as long as they are Nigerians they are bound by the so-called ‘rule of law’ of the country.
Adeniran, maintained that Nigerians must face the realities of our present situation.
According to him, “It is either we want to collectively fight corruption and understand the consequences of confronting the monster or we do not!
“There is no doubt that the incurably corrupt elements reside in all the Arms of government and they perpetrate their sharp practices with bare-faced impunity, indeed corruption has be institutionalised in every aspect of the body polity.”
He argued that it become necessary to act in desperate and expedited manner, based on the desperate situation corruption have put the country into.
Comrade Debo Adeniran however viewed the criticisms that have greeted the arrest of the suspected Judges as rantings of some unpatriotic elements, saying it “can only help those who are hell-bent on sustaining the decadent status quo along with its inept champions and their underbellies”.
He mentioned that majority of Nigerians that are the victims prefer that all suspected corruption criminals should be treated equally before the laws regardless of whoever is involved, to them Judges are not gods unlike some intend to impose on them.
On whether the arrest of the judges contravenes rule of laws, the group questioned if perpetrators of corruption have ever considered the ‘rule of law’ before plunging the country into the subsisting catastrophe that we are in as a people.
On the judiciary, CACOL believes the arrest of the suspected corrupt Judges does not represent an attack on the arm of government by the Executive because, “we know that hitherto, sharp practices of unimaginable dimensions within the rank and file of the Bar and Bench had been perpetrated times without number”, he added.
Since 2007, the group said it has through petitions, protests and other legitimate means of agitated for the trial of some suspected corruption criminals but have been faced with frustrations of different kinds because of the antics and profile of the persons involved.
Mention was made of the twists and turns in the celebrated cases of former governors James Ibori, Peter Odili and Joshua Dariye who is presently representing Plateau Central Senatorial Constituency in the National Assembly.
The group further reiterated that there is no cause for the exaggerated criticisms of the arrest of the Judges, noting that only the hypocrites among us would hide under the guise of the ‘rule of law’ to pander corruption. To them, it is public knowledge that corruption criminals wriggle through the labyrinth of our criminal justice system to escape justice using the lacunae therein. This they say, must be stopped!
Speaking on the manner of arrest, the Executive Chairman of the anti-corruption group, Comrade Debo Adeniran, noted that ‘sting operation’ is not strange to the fight against corruption globally. “Historically, no serious anti-corruption drive does not utilize that means when confronting corruption particularly where judges are concerned.”
Generally, he agreed that purging the Judiciary of corrupt Judges will always require undercover operations.
He also quoted relevant sections of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act to buttress his assertion.
He submitted that from the effect of Sections 9, 10, 12, 13 and 149 (2) of the ACJA the person executing a search warrant and or arrest warrant is empowered to “break open any outer or inner door or window of any house or place” where unhindered access is denied upon demand.
Comrade Debo Adeniran, submitted that the need to break a door wouldn’t have arisen if unhindered access into the house of the affected judge had been availed.