In this interview with KAYODE ADEOTI, the lead counsel of Abdulkareem & Co, Abdulfatai Abdulkareem, speaks extensively on the implications of the recent arrest of some senior lawyers, SANs, even judges by the anti-graft agencies in Nigeria. Excerpts:
Going by the arrest of some senior lawyers in the legal profession over an alleged misappropriation of fund and the likes, what implication do you think this will have on our judicial system in the country?
The implications are grave on the judiciary, but let me first clarify some issues; those who were arrested, the senior lawyers, the SANs all belong to the bar, while the judges starting from the Supreme Court to Federal High Court judges belong to the Bench, it has now become a concern owing to the fact that some of these senior lawyers are being used as medium of corruption, they are the link that facilitate bribery from the politicians to the judges. It is no longer news that there is corruption in every sector in this country, that is why judiciary too is caught up in the web. We are all Nigerians and blood flows in us. Nigeria has now become a land where corruption breeds.
The common man does not have confidence in the judicial system anymore. Meanwhile; it’s believed that the judiciary is the last hope of the common man. If you travel to advanced countries where things are done in the proper way, though there is no place in this world where there is no element of corruption but it has been reduced to reasonable levels in those countries. It is on the increase in our country, this is why we continue to face serious trouble. Another implication that places us on the arm of great danger is the ravaging prevalence of the looters of our economy. We’ve had situations where corrupt judges, corrupt officials and lawyers have been let off the hook, and the masses therefore suffer it.
Our treasury have been looted to almost noting and how have they been able to do this successfully?
It is with the help of all these judges, whom after looting the money, they take it to them so that they can remain silent, they were allowed to go unprosecuted. It is that bad now in our country. They can also do it the other way round by hiring big lawyers to defend them in court. And these SANs always know how to find their ways to meet the judges in order to secure soft landing. Look at the recession we are facing, if corrupt people had been properly dealt with, we won’t be facing this kind of problems. There were instances where women were the harbinger of corruption, and when they get to court, they will be released because they have strong connections with the judges. In fact, these immediate past and present governments bear witness of this, there was a time it was Cecilia Ibru, the director Oceanic bank now Ecobank and other women too during that time, now we have Diezani Madueke, Minister for petroleum, up till recently, the anti-graft agency are still recovering many of the things she looted.
Why I mentioned these people was to make us realised that corruption is not limited to the SANs but to many other high profile figures in the country, until we sit up and say enough is enough to the menace, the masses will continue to suffer for it.