Nigeria: Outsourcing Justice
Saturday, June 29th, 2013
“Arise oh compatriots”. That sentence has never seized to ignite in me a feeling of compassion, commitment, and unending dedication to the good and prosperity of my fatherland Nigeria. I am proudly Nigerian, and I will jump at any opportunity to let the world know. But, sincerely, there are times when I feel a rush of negative emotions like anger, pain, helplessness, and above all, shame, at the mere mention of the name ‘Nigeria’. I last experienced one of such moments on Tuesday, March 26, 2013 when I got the news of the conviction of Henry Okah by a South African court for acts of terrorism in Nigeria. That should ordinarily have been good tiding to my ears but the fact of Nigeria’s over-dependence on other countries in the fight against corruption and insecurity hit me like a blow. My memory did an automatic flashback and the first stop was 2005. So, what about that year, you may ask, I’ll remind you.
In September 2005, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, who had been elected Governor of Bayelsa State in May 1999 as a member of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and re-elected in 2003, was detained in London on charges of money laundering. At the time of his arrest, the Metropolitan Police found about £1m in cash in his London home. Later, they found a total of £1.8m ($3.2m) in cash and bank accounts. The ultimate shock came when he presented himself as an object of national disgrace by jumping bail in December 2005 and escaping from the United Kingdom by disguising himself as a woman, though Alamieyeseigha denied this claim. On July 26, 2007, he pled guilty before a Nigerian court to six charges and was sentenced to two years in prison on each charge; however, because the sentences were set to run concurrently and the time was counted from the point of his arrest nearly two years before the sentences, his actual sentence was relatively short. On July 27, just hours after being taken to prison, he was released due to time already served. In my state of mental sojourn, the past is linked to the present, as we forward to March 12 2013 when President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan announced the grant of Presidential Pardon to Alamieyeseigha.
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Tags: Africa, Africa and Development, Africa and Legal development, Alams, Amnesty, Bode George, Corruption, Dimeji Bankole, Farouk Lawan, Feyi Ogunmola, Goodluck Jonathan, Henry Okah, James Ibori, Lady Justice, Law, Law and Justice, Legal Development, Money Laundering, Nigeria, Presidential Pardon, South Africa, United Kingdom
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