Legal Nigeria

Nigerian judges urged to stop deciding corruption cases on technicalit

The Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa, has expressed concerns over corruption cases being lost to technicalities at various levels of court in the country, stressing that such a development may serve as a disincentive to the fight against economic and financial crimes.

The EFCC chairman stated this on Monday in Abuja while speaking at the opening of a three- day capacity-building workshop themed “Judicial Dynamism: A Key Factor in the Fight Against Economic and Financial Crimes”, organised for judicial officers, corruption investigators and prosecutors.

According to Bawa, the loss of serious economic crimes and corruption cases on the grounds of technicality could boost the confidence of corrupt elements and negatively affects the cherished image of the Nigerian judiciary.

Bawa said: “As a Commission, we do not expect every judicial decision to go our way, but there are instances the EFCC and many Nigerians have been left at a loss about certain judicial decisions, where defendants who obviously have stolen our commonwealth and those who have aided and abetted them have been allowed to go home to enjoy their proceeds of crime on technical grounds. This has the tendency of affecting negatively the cherished

image of and confidence in the Nigerian judiciary both locally and internationally.

“In the Commission, we hold the view that corruption is a plague that does not select its victims. Those stealing and abusing our common patrimony do not wish us well. Judges are as much victims of corruption as the ordinary man on the streets. It is therefore in our collective interest that the gains of the fight against corruption are not reversed. This is also why we must aggregate fresh opinions and forge deliberate winning tactics and strategies to stem its ugly tide”, he said.

Reviewing the impact of the EFCC in the fight against economic and financial crimes, in its 19 years of existence, the EFCC boss boasted that the commission has carved a niche for itself with numerous milestones to its name.

“However, in the little over a year that I have had the privilege to superintend, the commission secured an unprecedented record of 2220 convictions. It is the highest ever in the history of the Commission and as I address you this morning, we have already secured 1222 convictions, thus far, this year,” the chairman pointed out.

While commending the judiciary for its role in making the convictions record possible, the EFCC Chairman advocated for an enhanced welfare package for judges and justices.

Credit: The Vanguard.