ICPC: Request for a Court ordered Psychological testing on Dibu Ojerinde Due to the Peculiarity of these Offenses
Prof Dibu Ojerinde of Faculty of Education, Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, and a former Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, Dibu Ojerinde is currently under the custody of the Nigerian anti-corruption agency (ICPC) for crimes against children and the educational system.
From the angle of psychological lens this indicated case present as peculiar as seen from the newspaper’s headings and the backgrounds of the reported offender. The offenses strike at Nigeria’s school age children as described below.
The Daily Post of March 17, 2021published “Prof. Ojerinde awarded pencil, eraser contract for N900m – ICPC arrests ex-JAMB Registrar “
The Premium Times of April 27, 2020 published “ICPC confiscates houses, filling stations, schools, others from ex-Jamb Registrar Ojerinde”
Some primary reasons for court-ordered psychological evaluations are issues regarding:
1) Incompetency to proceed to trial
2) Insanity at the time the alleged offense was committed
3) Need for involuntary hospitalization
4) Other unresolved mental health matters
No. 4 is essential here given the nature and the peculiar issues raised in these allegations, and the type of person allegedly involved in the charges.
I strongly suggest that the defendant on the basis of a judge order receive an expedited psychological evaluation, which should be completed within 48 hours, or if a full evaluation is requested, it should be completed within 7 to 10 days from the court order.
It is suggested strongly that the evaluation be conducted while the defendant is still in a law enforcement cell, or jail (which Nigeria does not have presently) or in temporary hold in a prison.
Because psychiatrists are trained medical doctors who mostly focus on medical laboratory test, conduct background and clinical interviews for possible prescription of medications, a psychologist should conduct the evaluation as one trained to administer different standardized psychological tests that assesses intellectual and personality functioning.
The first reason for the psychological evaluation is due to the fact that the defendant who is supposed to supervise the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), advocate and protect the children as they prepare for entrance examination for tertiary-level institutions is engaged in such offense; secondly, a psychological assessment is needed due to the fact that the defendant is a known academic in psycho-educational measurements with a focus on children especially.
The reported crimes appear to constitute bizarre conduct, highly unusual and horrific acts especially for the type of person engaged in them, and the type of victimization--children.
The court should take advantage of Nigeria’s original and first program for the study of Forensic Psychology, in the Department of Psychology at the Nasarawa State University and use one of the forensic psychology scholars to perform the test.
Across sub-Saharan Africa, in Nigeria especially, forensic mental health services like psychological evaluation for offenders remain very rare in part due to the judiciary not fully understanding the essentials of testing as applied to forensic psychological questions, as in this very matter with Prof Dibu Ojerinde.
If this offender is convicted of these peculiar crimes against children especially, hoping that the case is not bogged down by delay and interruptions, the court should consider imprisonment with a treatment-punishment mixture. In order to better affect his motivations.
Prof John Egbeazien Oshodi is an American based Police/Prison Scientist and Forensic/Clinical/Legal Psychologist, a government Consultant on matters of forensic-clinical adult/child psychological services in the USA. Prof. Oshodi was born in Uromi, Edo State, Nigeria. Comes to Nigeria periodically and recently taught as an Associate Professor of Forensic/clinical Psychology at the Department of Psychology, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Nasarawa, Nigeria. [email protected], [email protected]