Judicial Tyrants and The Rule Of Thieves, By Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú
Can justice be served in the case of Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia and her indicted colleagues? Hopefully! We must show our collective outrage and see this cancer for what it is. The arrests, indictments and evidences confirm what we have known all along but which the government ignored – that the judiciary has long been involved in the rule of thieves.
Is this another public bromide on the scandal in the judiciary? Yes it is! In the last two decades, corruption has taken firm root in the judiciary. It is not surprising to read the admission of Mr. Ademola Oshodi, Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia’s account manager, on how he laundered bribes in naira into the Justice’s account in Diamond account. According to him, when she was not comfortable with the huge amount involved, he changed the money to dollars and handed it over to her. Without restraint, without any holding back, Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia seemed neck deep in her religious commitment to the idolatry of judicial supremacy in the pursuit of financial gains. What a grand shame! Why do we call judges, Justices? We call them Justices because they are expected to be embodiments of justice. We expect them to uphold the constitution as written, not to pervert justice by taking undue advantage of their position to demand and take bribes. By the power invested in them by the Nigerian constitution, we expect them to act according to their oath; to uphold the rule of law instead of the rule of man. We never bargained for criminals. We expected Justices who sit in judgment, and judge according to the law, not those whose opinions are full constitutional deceit and legal activism.
Nigerians must pay attention to this trial and its outcome. The thoroughly corrupt judiciary is a threat to democracy and economic growth. When judges accept bribes and offer judgements for illicit payments, the course of justice is perverted. When justice is perverted, the law is not spared, and the law is the foundation upon which justice is built. From the evidence provided so far, it is apparent that Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia used the law and her position lawlessly. In the course of her judgement-for-illicit-payment rulings, she has rejected the meaning of Nigerian laws by replacing the meaning of the nation’s laws with her own, as long as it suits her pockets, while maintaining a legal facade cloaked in deception. The tragedy for Nigeria in this, is that Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia and others like her have converted the courts into a den of thieves.
Hopefully, justice will be served and no Justice will be too influential to be jailed, if found guilty. We cannot reform the institutions of governance and take effective measures to eliminate the evil, if we tolerate judicial corruption and pervertion of justice.
Can justice be served in the case of Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia and her indicted colleagues? Hopefully! We must show our collective outrage and see this cancer for what it is. The arrests, indictments and evidences confirm what we have known all along but which the government ignored – that the judiciary has long been involved in the rule of thieves. Through bribery and graft, they violate the citizens procedural rights and the right to equality before the law, as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It will be interesting to see how her trial goes as suspicion mounts on the sincerity and political will of the government to see the case(s) to a fair conclusion. Nigerians know it will be difficult to fight corruption in the judiciary when politicians and corruption are siamese twins, and in a country where corruption is systemic. Despite the obstacles, we want Justices, who offer legal arguments in their rulings that seek to hide the fact that their judgement is result-driven, held accountable. Monetised judgements should be exposed because it furthers a patent lack of trust in the judiciary, to which no court can remain indifferent.
We have no idea how this trial and those of other indicted justices will fare. Hopefully, justice will be served and no Justice will be too influential to be jailed, if found guilty. We cannot reform the institutions of governance and take effective measures to eliminate the evil, if we tolerate judicial corruption and pervertion of justice.
Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú a farmer, youth advocate and political analyst writes this weekly column, “Bamidele Upfront” for the PREMIUM TIMES. Follow me on Twitter @olufunmilayo