The high rate of corruption and failed criminal justice system in Nigeria have continued to fuel crime and terrorism in the nation, a lawyer said on Tuesday, asking the government to show the political will needed to end the anomalies in the system.
While speaking on the increasing rate of crime and terrorism in Nigeria, Mr Festus Keyamo, blamed the government for the insecurity, insisting that “when any crime at the highest level happens consistently for many years without being checked, the authorities are always involved”.
Mr Keyamo emphasised that the terrorism in Nigeria’s north-east started as a result of corrupt practices which proceeds were used in funding terrorists’ activities.
“Terrorism is thriving because it is adequately funded. It is easy to decode that operations of the Boko Haram terrorist group cannot be sustained without funds. Laundered money is used for terrorism.
“Law against money laundering is made to check the activities of terrorists and not just financial crimes.
“Money used in funding terrorism do not go through financial institutions, as movements of funds through a bank could be tracked. Such monies do not go through the banks,” he explained.
The lawyer, however, pointed out that people that commit such money into terrorism have serious religious or political agenda, stressing that the government must buckle up to check the activities.
He further asked the government to be as serious as the terrorists, to fulfil the objective of setting up any system of government which is to protect lives and property.
“The terrorism has continued consistently for six years and the government is not doing anything about it. There is a failure of government somewhere.
Conspiracy In The Judicial System
He stressed the need for the reformation of the criminal justice system in order to check crime and terrorism in Nigeria, identifying stay of proceedings in criminal trials as the major problem.
“Justice delayed is justice denied. I have said it over and over again. I have sent a recommendation to the National Assembly, but something tells me that some people are not interested in reforming the criminal justice system.
“You stay proceedings on cases because of interlocutory applications in criminal trials and cases are delayed for eight years, before the persons are tried. By then, your witnesses have travelled out of the country and some are out of reach, some have died and some have lost their memory,” he said
According to him, cases against governors have been delayed because of the conspiracy in the judicial system.
He said that ‘the system is skewed towards protecting the elite. Nobody wants anybody to go jail for corruption’.
Mr Keyamo pointed out that the constitution should be amended to address the issues of disparity between the constitution and the financial crimes act.
“The EFCC Act states that interlocutory appeals shall not act as a stay of proceedings, but defence lawyers will come to the court and say that the constitution is superior to the EFCC Act and it guarantees the right to appeal and many judges agree with them and stay proceedings. How do you solve this problem? Put it in the constitution that there will be no stay of proceedings in criminal matters and arm the prosecutors,” he said.
On where the recent national conference that was held in Nigeria would help address the issues, Mr Keyamo said that the purpose of the conference was defeated when delegates made the money they were collecting a major issue, describing the conference as a waste of time and national resources.