By Adeola Oladele, Ibadan
The Speaker of Kwara State House of Assembly, Dr. Alli Ahmad, has said President Muhammadu Buhari’s effort at fighting corruption might not yield positive results if the judicial system was not properly strengthened particularly in the implementation of the administration of Criminal Justice Act.
Dr Alli, who was the guest lecturer of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Oyo State Council, at the union’s monthly lecture series said the Nigeria’s judicial system was too weak to win any serious battle against corruption in the country.
According to him, Nigerian courts are not presently suited to perform the function of a primary platform of fighting widespread corruption, even under a fully implemented ACJA regime, querying how many cases could the courts handle from trial courts to the supreme courts in the last four years.
The former member of the National Assembly also maintained that “a government has already lost the war on corruption if its new found strategy is to use a three man code of conduct Tribunal to checkmate 469 federal legislators,36 governors, 36 ministers, and a host numbers of officials and civil servants, no doubt the tribunal cannot but be selective in choosing the cases it adjudicates upon as we are presently witnessing. But in being selective, we have compromised and tainted the very essence of fight against corruption.”
He urged the National Assembly to re-enact the constitutional amendments of section 241 passed by the 7th Assembly in order to make delay in criminal trials things of the past, otherwise section 306 of ACJA stay on proceedings would remain unconstitutional.
“It is the constitutional duty of each member of the National Assembly to expose corruption. You could accuse the National Assembly of anything but certainly not that it is failing in this specific duty, the National Assembly is empowered in section 88 of the constitution to direct or cause to be directed to investigate any person or authority with the aim of exposing corruption,” Hon. Ahmad explained.
He disclosed further that other corruption related laws passed by the 7th Assembly but remained unsigned included Whistle-blower Protection Bill, Nigerian International Financial Centre Establishment Bill, Civil Forfeiture and Federal Audi Service Commission Bill.
In his contribution, Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Hon Michael Adeyemo said the agencies investigating corruption charges should also be strengthened and properly informed.
He, however, assured that the Oyo State House of Assembly would pass the law before the end of the first quarter of 2016.
The Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Oyo State Council, Comrade Gbenga Opadotun in his address said the choice of the lecturer and the lecture theme was to further enlighten the public through the media on the administration of Criminal Justice Act and its role in tackling corruption.
He, equally, challenged all media practitioners in the country to live up to expectation by being fair in their reportage of events, while stressing the need for training and retraining of media men in order to be able to conform with the dictates of the profession.