DSS, EFCC and the bitter lessons from the courts

By Sunny Igboanugo on 07/04/2017

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Why do you think characters like Don Corleone in Mario Puzo’s The Godfather existed and still exist in America? These were bandits known to both the ordinary folks and the authorities. Not only are their activities, mostly devious and law-breaking a public knowledge, they also have fixed and equally known addresses, where they could be reached at any point in time.

Now, these are gangsters who engage in all sorts of anti-social and criminal activities including killing and maiming of people. The authorities are also aware of these unwholesome activities. So, why is it that the government does not invade their homes, pull them out and put them on trial for not only their crimes but the discomfort they cause to the society?  

The simple, straight answer is the rule of law. Surely, it would have made a lot of sense and appealed to many they have hurt in one way or the other by their nefarious activities to be visited with such "instant justice." Yet the authorities, equally hurt by the same malfeasances never take thateasy way out.

Rather, what exists is the cat and mouse, Tom and Jerry kind of relationship in which the hunter is very much aware that it needs more than just raw power, adopts all kinds of strategies, sets all kinds of traps and designs and finetunes all kinds of intricate meshes to trap the prey, while the hunted, equally aware that it is the target designs its own strategy to undermine, scuttle and escape the maze of traps so designed and set for it. And the beat goes on.

In most cases, except there is a major breakthrough, which rarely happens, the hunter never gets to succeed, but the hunted is never comfortable as well, but lives with the abiding feeling of perpetual fear as a price. In the end, therefore, both must share a space, not because they desire it, but because, little could be done to have it otherwise.

Image result for patience jonathan

Patience Jonathan

That has always been the template on which modern societies exist. Of course, it would not be difficult for the American government to go and pull out the Don Corleones out of their beds, in their pyjamas, ferry them into jail houses, deny them bail and eventually clamp them into prison, willy-nilly. Not only do they have the power to do so, but the ability to sustain it. They will equally be hailed by many in the society for doing so. But, if that is allowed, the fine ingredients of rule of law are destroyed and to them, these are more important assets to protect than anything else obtained through the quick-fix method.

Therefore, the mere fact that policemen used torture or any form of inducement outside what is allowed to obtain evidence, is enough to allow the most dangerous criminal walk out of a courtroom a free man even if he assassinated the President. That makes all the difference.

The rule of law, with the preservation of individual rights at the base, has always remained at the foundation on which successful and organic societies are built and the hub around which they rotate. It has always guided the conducts of all sides to the conflict between the law and its breakers in the complex but necessary co-existential systems.

In such societies, it is implausible to hear the kind of debate going on in Nigeria today such as calling for the abolishment of the Senate, because some senators are dubbed corrupt. It is also unheard of the current disgraceful stories flowing out of Nigerian courts. In both cases the reason for the parlous situation would have been taken care of a long time ago.

It is not likely and would be quite disastrous that within the last 72 hours an American government would have lost some four high-profile cases in a row.

This is because, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), would never have invaded the home of any judge without getting all the details that would ensure that such a high judicial officer ends up in jail afterwards. The knots would have been tied and the jigsaw puzzle fixed to the extent that there would be no room for escape even if the judge is defended by the most efficient team there is. The best that could be obtained in such instances is a plea bargain. Otherwise, the risk to personal career and reputation would have been too great.

Were it in America that the court threw away the case of such a judge as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), High Court, Abuja, did to that of Justice Adeniyi Ademola, on Wednesday, the head of the FBI, in this case, the Department of State Services, would not have waited for anybody to ask for his resignation before throwing in the towel.

In the first place, weighing the balance of the consequences of failure to get a conviction against the body’s reputation as an efficient, diligent and fair-minded agency, imbued by nothing other than public good, would have counted more than anything else as much as the personal reputations of those who ordered the operation.       

Were it in America that the Serious Fraud Unit (SFU), lost three high-profile cases in a row, as seen in the cases of Godsday Orubebe, Mike Ozokhome and Dame Patience Jonathan, as with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) or the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), that went on that wild goose chase, their heads would have since addressed the press, admitted their failure and handed down their resignations.

The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), who supervised them and under whose nose such charades endured, would not have suffered the public any minute longer than it takes to hand in a resignation and a public apology for not preventing such a monumental failure and embarrassment before they happened.

But what would you have? None of this would happen.  Not only would such officers find excuses for the shameful outing, but a strong ground to engage in further shenanigans because of their ever-ready wacky support base, peopled by those who do not understand the dynamics, or others who neither appreciate the fundamentals nor understands the supporting arguments, but rather driven by either pecuniary interests or mundane and primordial sentiments, such as who is where.

Incidentally, it is not that there were no early warnings against this bizarre development. Many had foretold of this definite outcome right from the beginning. Yet for every voice that tried to reason that impunity and arbitrariness would never work as a tool of fighting crime in a modern society, there were counter views that the hammer and bulldozer option of breaking the door with the leg, was the best way to go.

Even now, as the debate goes on, as the din about corruption fighting back reverberates against the crashing of one case after the other in the courts, those taming voices of reason have continued to intervene and point to the workable templates that have kept other societies going in the way of progress and winning ways.

Before now it was a case of stripping thieves and forcing them to dance in the market square. While that assuaged the society in those days, because it was just fowls, goats and yams that were in contention, the game has since changed. Today, it is now talks about money. Huge, big money, that counts greatly too in the end.

Thus, the strategy must equally change. Yet nobody needs to reinvent the wheel, but only just observe how others do it.      

 

Source Whirlwindnews.com

Posted on April, 7 2017

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