Monday, October 15, 2007

The Rule of Law & Due Process; As Sword & Shield?

By Paul Adujie
Monday, 13 November 2006
The Rule of Law & Due Process; As Sword & Shield?

By Paul I. Adujie

New York, United States

Since the inception of the President Obasanjo’s administration, and particularly, since the reinvigorated war against corruption, a crusade which is led by Mallam Nuhu Ribadu and his agile EFCC, some Nigerians have taken to actions and comments, which frequently appears as if only calculated to distract and derail the anti corruption crusade.

Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, Nigeria’s Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) against corruption, has just won a major victory in his anti corruption crusade.... Mallam Ribadu and his EFCC management and staff, have just secured the impeachment of Mr. Joshua Chibi Dariye, the now erstwhile governor of our beloved Plateau State of Nigeria. This is the equivalent of winning the Super Bowl in America!

It is similar to the winning of the World Cup in Soccer! Mr. Dariye’s impeachment has been long-awaited and overdue!

Nigerians, and others, will recall that Mr. Dariye has been a fugitive from the law in England since his arrest for money laundering in England years ago.

He was subsequently accused of corruption in Nigeria by the Mallam Nuhu Ribadu led Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. Mr. Dariye has used deceit and subterfuge to evade and delay punishments and consequences for money laundering and corruption, all this, despite overwhelming evidence against Mr. Dariye, both in England and Nigeria demonstrated by law enforcements in both countries.

The Nigerian Bar Association, ostensibly informed by its desire to ensure that our laws are obeyed and respected, and that the rule of law and due process is enshrined in practical terms, in our legal and political systems, the NBA has overlooked the impunity and complete contempt with which some of our public treat the law and due process.

The Nigerian Bar Association and their rule of law and due process brigade, have appeared to often rise quickly, too quickly, in the defense of decadence. Or why is it that too many Nigerians are not, more worried about the corrupt criminal behaviors and misconducts, but only singularly focused on the rights of the accused? Even in the face of overwhelming evidence against Alamieseigha and Dariye? Overwhelming evidence of their criminal behavior in Nigeria and in Britain!

It used to be said that those who come to equity, must come, with clean hands! So, why is it that more Nigerian intellectuals, commentators, journalists and indeed, the Nigerian Bar Association, are not more concerned with the criminal behaviors, behaviors with impunity, of and by some of our public office holders? Criminals and fugitives as exemplified by Alamieseigha and Dariye, who have caused Bayelsa and Plateau States, in particular and Nigeria as a whole, monumental embarrassment, with their criminal behaviors and subsequently becoming fugitives from the law in England, especially, in such quick succession?

Why is it that those who seek to wrap themselves with our constitution, and hide behind our constitution, are the same persons who are unwilling to obey our constitution? Why is it that some Nigerians never ask those who seek the protections of the rule of law and due process to first and foremost, practice, observe and respect these fine ideals and principles themselves? Why is it, instead, these egregious offenders, these brazen gangsters and outlaws, are only interested, in using these fine tenets and ideals, as sword and shields for their selfish ends!

I accept the point, to the effect that even the worst criminals deserve legal protections as provided by our constitution and applicable statutes. I am in complete support of every effort to enshrine the rule of law and due process in our legal and political systems. I am aware that a strong foundation for our political and legal systems depends on respecting and observing these high ideals and fine tenets.

But what do you do, when two governors in Nigeria, in quick succession, and as if in tandem, became fugitive from the law in England and these, despite the overwhelming evidence against them?

But what do you do, when those who have sworn to uphold our constitution, to uphold the law, resort to fragrant law breaking at home and abroad?

But what do you do when for so long, Alamieseigha and Dariye remained the chief law officers, chief security officers of Bayelsa and Plateau states in Nigeria, and yet, these two men were themselves wanted for fleeing the rule of law and due process in England?

And what do you do, when as in the case of Dariye, he attempted to subvert and pervert justice by removing Justice Dakyen, a judge that was part of Dariye’s impeachment process? Dariye with that action, attempted to be a judge, a jury and an executioner in his corruption-impeachment trial.

Cleary therefore, Dariye, apart from being egregiously and grossly corrupt, he does not care a hoot about the rule of law and dues process! Dariye removed Justice Dakyen without the approval of two-thirds of Plateau House Assembly members and without recourse to the National Judicial Council, as our constitution requires.

Two Nigerians with pseudo names added their input to breaking news debate on Dariye’s impeachment:

Sincere Brillow stated the following: I have the privilege of providing a-first-hand information on the situation in plateau state. A) It is undeniable that Gov Joshua chibi Dariye is doing little or nothing in the state. B) It is undeniable that Gov Joshua chibi Dariye cares less about the poverty stricken people of plateau state selfish ends! C) It is undeniable that Gov Joshua Chibi Dariye has no master plan for the health sector of the state. D) It is undeniable that Gov Joshua Chibi Dariye is owing school teachers some months salary. E) It is undeniable that Gov Joshua Chibi Dariye has left the roads in the state in a terrible condition compared to what is obtainable in neighbouring states like Bauchi and Kaduna. F) With all these, we have every reason to say Gov Joshua Chibi Dariye is no longer fit to govern the state as he has failed in delivering to the people of the state. Even so, Sincere Brillow wants Dariye shielded, law and due process and all?

Then the other Nigerian, Palamedes, responded thus, Here is a thirty-minute movie script based on the above: A killer is on the loose, he is going bang bang bang in a school, the police are called, surrounds the school but couldn't get in; there is a standoff; finally, the police bravely goes in and bang, he is dead. Now enters Sincere Brillow, the TV lawyer to raise objection to police use of excessive force, and demands to know why they had not caught and brought the killer to justice. And I might added that the rule of law and due process brigade acting as though they are willfully burying their heads in the sand!

Most Nigerians seemed agreed that there is unbridled corruption pandemic in Nigeria, but are some Nigerians equally agreed that drastic and radical measures are needed to curb the brazen and egregious criminal behaviors of public officials such as Alamie and Dariye? Why do some Nigerians persist in castigating the EFCC?

Accusing EFCC of witch-hunt, when the EFCC catches up with criminals, by arguing that there are other criminals elsewhere, is akin to an accosted motorist arguing that he should not answer for his guilt or innocence, for running past a traffic light that was indicating red to stop, as the driver insists that there are other bad drivers!

Many drivers in New York City for instance, are the worst in the world, but those who get caught by the New York Police Department do not argue or hope to escape punishments, by informing the arresting police officers that there are other bad drivers in New York City!

A bad driver who gets arrested for an offence or violation must argue his guilt or innocence, not by stating there are other bad drivers in the city! Defend yourself when you get caught, others will get caught eventually, and they will in turn defend themselves, your defense does not lay in the fact that there are other criminals in existence, in our nation!

Joshua Chibi Dariye is an enemy of the people of Plateau state and an enemy of Nigeria's progress! Good Ridance to rotten garbage! Mr. Dariye should be sent to Britain where he is a fugitive from the law! Who Is The Next Governor For Impeachment By EFCC? Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, you have just impeached Joshua Chibi Dariye a felon and fugitive from the law, Mallam, who is the next governor for impeachment in Nigeria? A) Governor Orji Kalu of Abia State? B) Governor Igbinedion of Edo State? C) BOTH!!!!!!

It is quite amazing that those who pillage Nigeria with their high-octane corruption, are the same persons, who with their cronies, shout the rule of law and due process from the rooftops in high-decibels!

They shrill-shout fine principles to which they themselves are not amenable! Those who steal from Nigeria, those drag Nigeria to destitution, ought to face the death penalty or rot and rust in prison forever!

When will more Nigerians spend more time enquiring into the guilt or innocence of those public officials accused of corruption, especially in the face of overwhelming evidence?

When will some Nigerians stop accusing and distracting the EFCC and other Nigerian law enforcement from carrying out the monumental tasks of ridding our society of those who plunder it?

Corruption deprives Nigeria, our nation, of public infrastructures required for economic and political development! Fighting corruption therefore, is, as far as I am concerned, is job number one and we ought to support anyone interested in ridding Nigeria of this scourge!

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