Letting the Beast Loose! -By Onyinye Ough

Filed under: National Issues |

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With five ex-governors being arrested by Nigeria’s top anti-corruption agency (EFCC), the key question is will the cases be seen to completion? Will any of these prosecutions be successful? Is Nigeria’s judiciary ready for this new challenge? According to records on the EFCC website, there was only one conviction linked to the misuse of public funds in 2014, that conviction took 9 years from the day of being charged to court through to conviction. The length of time taken to secure convictions is too long.

The conviction of corrupt politicians or government officials will send a message to current political office holders that it is no longer business as usual. The judiciary system will need to be reformed to ensure that there is an increase in the number of convictions, particularly those that involve corrupt politicians or anyone caught misusing public funds. The current government should fast track corruption cases that involve current or past political office holders. This may involve setting up special courts for handling corruption cases. An effective judiciary is crucial to the fight against corruption. Letting the beast loose is a good first step but we need to make sure that the beast has teeth.
Those interested in EFCC’s 2014 convictions should please click here.

Onyinye Ough, a development practitioner working on public service reforms in Nigeria, writes regularly on issues of good governance on her blog, Step Up Nigeria.

 

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