Political Exposed Persons and the Need for Special Courts in Nigeria
Idike, Adeline Nnenna, Eme, Okechukwu Innocent, Ugwu, Christian Chibuike
Excessive delays in the regular courts have necessitated the call for the establishment of special courts to try corrupt public officers. This paper examines what the nation stands to benefit from the innovation. Considering the myriad allegations of corruption, in recent times, the proposal that Special Courts should be set up to try looters is attractive. The challenge, however, would be how the government can make that happen. To create a new set of courts, the government may be confronted with the task of amending the constitution. An alternative would be to collaborate with the judiciary, to designate some courts to specifically handle corruption-related cases. We believe however that if the government can successfully set up special courts to expeditiously deal with corruption cases, the anti-graft war will be more efficient. This is because of the sad commentaries trailing EFCC’s effort in prosecuting corruption cases, however, justify the demand for special courts manned by judges with iron cast will to bring the corrupt to justice and fence off deliberate hindrances stalling quick, diligent and successful prosecution of public officers and other prominent individuals docked for corruption. We recall the distressing experience of former EFCC boss, Mrs. Farida Waziri, who alleged in 2009 that some senior lawyers were frustrating the fight against corruption by stalling the prosecution of their clients docked by EFCC. Lamorde inherited similar problems, too. Till date, the EFCC is yet to secure superior court orders to overturn dubious perpetual injunctions given against the prosecution of many former governors in power between 1999 and 2007, accused of money laundering and hair-splitting frauds running into billions of naira. Though former President Goodluck Jonathan, while swearing-in former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mariam Aloma Mukhtar, in 2012, cited citizens’ complaints of delayed trial particularly in cases of corruption, terrorism and other matters of serious concern; and frequent calls for special courts or the designation of special judges to handle such cases. Mukhtar, however, said there was no need for special courts; stressing that a judge, two or three in the states can be designated to take care of the cases in question. In order to achieve the objective of the study, the paper generated data mainly from existing literature on Politically Exposed Persons, Corruptions and Special Courts. Content analysis is used to draw insights from the literature on areas that are considered very significant to the research.