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Failure By The Judiciary, Even In The Face Of Covid-19 Pandemic

By Emmanuel Atumen
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It is so painful that 'Okoro' virus couldn't kill anyone in Delta State but 'Kongo' virus has!

One big issue in Nigeria is ignorance of the law. Back in elementary school, I remember we were taught that the Legislature makes laws, the Judiciary interprets and strengthens the rule of law, ensuring compliance with the laws and the Executive enforces these interpreted laws by carrying them out in their respective levels and ensuring compliance by the populace. But I have come to see that Nigerians are gravely ignorant of the existing laws, these include a larger proportion of the Legislative arms, Executive arms and the general public.

Have you seen a Lawyer talked, laying claims and trying to make his/her presence known? They talk tall and with so much confidence as though they have 'Ak 47' at home. No they don't! It is because of what they know - The Laws!!

And this is the major reason why I blame them a lot for what is going on in the country, the bad governance and oppressions by some groups.

By the way, if you are in doubt that the Lawmakers themselves don't know the law, and the Executives don't also, I mean a larger proportion; just listen to what the Legislatures said about the border closure by different States; they said it wasn't lawful. But one of the Executives at the state level read Laws upon Laws and Acts upon Acts that gave him the veto to enforce such a law.

Now, this is where I am going, Nigeria will change when the Judiciary stand up to take their place in the nation and not just in their homes, families, clients who pay them money and so on.

In the 1960s and backwards, in the United States of America, there were several discriminations on gender. There were things the female couldn't do or become and places they couldn't work. So also for males but that of the males were very few. Two major restrictions for the males were that they couldn't study to become a Nurse and also if a man hadn't been married at all, he was not entitled to tax cut benefits. Those of the females were a whole lot, irrespective of your colour; Black or White.

A lot of Lawyers fought this lawful 'injustice' but failed! Until a female Law Professor picked it up in the 1960s and everything changed. She didn't do it for her family but for the country and now everyone is enjoying the fight she won by knowing the laws, what should be in place and working towards ensuring those things were in place. She was nominated to the US Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton in June 1993 and her impact is still being felt till date.

Take note please, should you are saying; ‘He doesn't understand, I am not at the top and I don't have hundreds of Law Professionals by my side.’ This American didn't have many persons by her, yet she was able to make a change. When people see your impact, they will follow you. Actually, we don't need crowd to make an impact or do something meaningful. Anyways you aren’t the first to say that if you did because people said that during the time of Nehemiah that it wasn't in their power to do anything about the oppression. But Nehemiah consulted with himself, rebuked a lot of dignitaries and government functionaries; and he by himself stood behind the building of the walls of Jerusalem. He only had sympathizers along the line after he started. You too can do the same, stop making excuses.

The change we seek is in the hands of those that know the laws of the land.

The Nigerian Criminal Procedure Act which makes provision for the procedure to be followed in criminal cases, Chapter 1 Part 2, has in it that when a suspect is to be arrested, he ought not to be handcuffed except he poses a threat to the security operatives or people around, or if the court ordered it. But it is a normal thing in the country to first handcuff the suspect before any other thing. The same way it is now normal to shoot someone in cold blood as security personnel without investigating the alleged offense. The most painful part of it is that no one would stand up for that deceased family to see that justice is served, because the Judiciary have failed the country and still failing the country.

With all due respect to the Judiciaries, I see nothing they have done for this country, those carrying the Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) title and the rest judicial titles. Ask yourself this question, 'What have I done for this country with my title(s), other than condemning the judicial system?' You are in it, yet you are condemning it, so who do you expect to fix it? That someone or you have fought in the past but didn't succeed, doesn't mean you should keep up with the ugly situation. We must continue to fight until we win, to birth the change we want and seek.

This is a wake up call to the Judiciary arms of government, every Lawyer, with a big title or not. Put the generations ahead of you first and see how much change you would make!

God bless Nigeria, God bless the good people of Nigeria!