By Kelechi Okorie
For Biafra Choice Writers
In democratic settings, Judiciary remains an independent arm of government, with primary responsibility of interpreting the law without fear or favor. That is why it is known as the last hope of the common man.
Incidentally, that has not been the case in the now, expired Nigeria. The contraption called Nigeria is a place where anything goes, and its judicial system is not an exception. It has been bastardized by subsequent dictatorial governments that it no longer looks like Judiciary. In Nigeria, all manner of impunity has become the norm and culture that people now take in the impunities and brazen corruption of the Judiciary a normal, a reason one will never see any whimper of protest. Wherever impunity and brazen corruption exist the Judiciary has been greatly compromised. That is the story of Nigeria.
Things are so bad that the people don’t look far to identify cash and carry judges like Justice John Tsoho of Abuja High Court. Tsoho was so notorious with his judgments that few people were surprised when he started with his legal gymnastics on the trumped-up charges of treason leveled against Nnamdi Kanu, leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) by the government.
It therefore behooves on the Judiciary to take steps to correct itself and stand against Buhari’s rampaging dictatorship. If they fail to do so, the miscarriage of justice that has continued under Buhari will soon render them useless, and they will become permanently an apron string of the executive. Nigerian Judiciary must start to do this by insisting that all citizens granted bail by the courts like the Biafran leader, Kanu, must be allowed to go home unconditionally. If this is not done, then they should not be surprised if anarchy begins to consume the bench, the bar, and the entire country.
We can state here, without any fear of contradiction, that Nigeria Judicial Council (NJC) allowed its noble profession to be drawn into dangerous ground by the illiterate Nigerian president, Buhari. When Tsoho started his abuse of the legal process, they should have stopped him by whatever means necessary, but they kept mute.
Nigeria Judiciary Council (NJC) allowed its noble profession to be dragged down the abyss by keeping mute while watching the law turned upside down by many of its corrupt judges. For instance, Tsoho’s trickery of trying to introduce secret trial and hooded witnesses – which was alien to Nigerian law – did not trouble them. They knew that the only reason the corrupt Tsoho would be doing that, should be to truncate justice in favor of his paymaster, Muhammadu Buhari, yet they did not caution him.
It is common knowledge that contemporary legal system of every country of the world is derived from that country’s unique historical background. But Tsoho tried to use the legal system of Anglophone African countries to adjudicate in Nigeria, giving example from what was done in Ivory Coast which operates civil law system. But NJC did nothing to stop him until he brought them to ridicule. That is exactly the reason when the executive arm under Buhari began to disgrace them, nobody had sympathy for them.
Today, the ball is in court of the Judiciary, the way they handle the dictator Buhari in the coming this November 8, will determine what the world will make of them. A new Northern Nigerian judge has been appointed, Binta Murtala Nyako. She is a woman, and women have always made a difference where men failed. We hope she jettison whatever dictations she must have been given, and do the needful – release Nnamdi Kanu, a prisoner of conscience that has not committed any offence.