Nigeria’s Criminal Justice System Is ‘Messed Up’ – Falana

Channels Television  
Updated March 29, 2013

A legal practitioner and public affairs analyst, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) has blamed the Nigerian justice system for the pardon granted to former Bayelsa State governor, Mr Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, former Managing Director of Bank of the North, Mr Shettima Bulama and a retired army major.

Mr. Falana, who described the system as “messed up” was speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s morning flagship programme Sunrise Daily. He also berated the government’s inability to convince Nigerians on why the pardon was granted to these persons.

Mr. Falana said: “The government has not convinced Nigerians why it had to do it. Two of them were convicted for financial and economic crimes, one, a retired major was convicted for molesting four young boys; it was a case of sodomy”.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria recounted the description of the Supreme Court on the offence committed by the retired military officer as “beastly, barbaric and bizarre”.

He went further to quote the Chairman of ThisDay Newspaper Editorial Board, Mr. Segun Adeniyi, saying “In any country, you don’t extend pardon to sex related offences because it questions the morality of the society”.

Speaking on the pardon of Alamieyeseigha that, according to him, has generated so much controversy, the legal luminary said “When you situate his own case within the context of the criminal justice system (of Nigeria) that has been messed up completely in a way that only the poor and the disadvantaged segments of the society are railroaded to jail every day, you then ask yourself.”

Comparing the cases of others, who were governors the same time Alamieyeseigha was, Mr. Falana said: “If I was in the position of Chief Alamieyeseigha, I would have regretted pleading guilty to the charge because all his other colleagues who were charged with serious, graver offences are walking free.

“One of them, who jumped bail in the United Kingdom, like himself, is making laws, he is in the Senate today, the former governor of Plateau state, Chief Joshua Dariye”.

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