‘Special court for treasury looters unnecessary, wasteful’
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Monday, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to establish special courts to handle cases of treasury looting.
The stakeholders who spoke to NAN in separate interviews said that existing organs created by law to fight corruption should be strengthened to expedite action on the cases and bring looters to book.
Dr Jide Jimoh of the Journalism Department, Lagos State University, told NAN that the setting up special courts for that purpose would amount to duplicating efforts.
Jimoh said, “on the surface, it might appear desirable but if we take a long look at it, it may not be sustainable.
“I do not like this idea of special courts, special ministries and agencies to tackle every challenge that comes up in society.
“We already have institutions for every conceivable offence in Nigeria; so, why do we need to continue to duplicate efforts?
“It is a waste of the same resources we are trying to recover and conserve for other developmental purposes.’’
He said that the solution would be to “energise and monitor existing institutions, create financial independence in the judiciary to reduce their vulnerability to executive interference at national and state levels.
“A problem we may have to solve is the deliberate obstruction of court processes by some lawyers who perpetually rely on technicalities to delay justice.
“Are we going to ban such lawyers from the special courts? Let us tackle the problems of the judiciary as they arise rather than side-stepping them,’’ Jimoh said.
Ms Aisha Liman, a political analyst, acknowledged that the suggestion was made against the backdrop of cases dragging in the courts, but said that setting up special courts would only gulp more funds.
“I am sure that the proposition came because of the notoriety of today’s courts. You find cases staying up to three, four years in courts as a result of adjournments, jurisdiction and what have you.
“But, setting up special courts require money, the extra judges that will be hired will not do it for free.
“Moreover, the federal government already has all these professionals on its payroll. Why not allow them to carry out their jobs independently without interference,’’ she said.
In his contribution, Mr Johnchuks Onuanyim, a journalist, told NAN that creating a different court was diversionary and would not solve the problem.
“For me, it is not a problem of the special court but the sincerity of the anti-graft agencies and the judiciary.
“Creating a different court for treasury looters is creating food for the boys and we have seen how such actions ended in the past,’’ Onuanyim said.
NAN recalls that the media in the country had been agog in the past weeks with allegations of embezzlement in trillions of Naira by official the immediate past administration.