Can Jury System Improve Corruption Trials, Justice in Nigeria?

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Some advanced countries like the United States and the UK often use jury panels of 12 carefully-selected citizens to determine criminal cases, where the verdict or outcome also helps to minimise appeals. Although Nigeria, which adopted bench trials, is yet to fully embrace such a practice, do you think the use of juries can help speed up criminal and corruption trials, reduce bias and corrupt inducement of judges, and enhance administration of justice in this country?

By  ABIMBOLA AKOSILE

* Yes, the jury system is quite effective in advanced countries, so why not in Nigeria? It will greatly improve trial and justice in Nigeria, if well implemented.

– Miss Nkeiruka Abanna, Lagos State

* Yes, the jury can help improve corruption trials in any system, depending on who is involved. President Buhari’s attempt to restore sanity in Nigeria is commendable, but his actions must not be seen to be on an agenda. The arrest and trial of judges is totally not new, and should be commended if only his intentions and actions are genuine.

– Mr. Okechukwu Ikonne, Ogbor, Oke-Ovoro, Mbaise, Imo State

* We are not capable of holding a system like that. One guy will buy the jury in a jiffy; in fact, it will become a case of the highest bidder gets justice. We are a peculiar society.

– Mrs. Yejide Gbenga-Ogundare, Ibadan, Oyo State

* Carefully-selected citizens even with the Bench trials can truly determine criminal cases where verdict will reduce appeals and rigmarolling in and out of the courts. Juries will speed up criminal and corruption trials, reduce bias, corrupt inducement of judges and enhance administration of justice in Nigeria. PMB is fighting corruption headlong, firmly and fairly, irrespective of whose ox is gored at this apt time. No to subversion but compromising judicature must be punished promptly.

– Mr. Apeji Onesi, Lagos State

* The jury system will definitely reduce the inducement of judges and positively speed up trials.

– Mr. Albert Odulate, Abuja

* What the Department of State Security (DSS) did to some judges is a welcome action over corruption intake in delivering judgment. It will be a lesson to the judges that collect bribe to deliver fair judgments. Enough is enough! Judiciary is no longer the last hope of the common man because of the corruption in their system. We must support PMB to fight corruption in Nigeria, which has become a laughing stock in the eyes of the international community. It is time we stop it.

– Mrs. Ijeoma Nnorom, Lagos State

* Good idea….but, trust my Nigerian folks, they will corrupt it by preparing ‘arrangee’ jury. Let’s rather change our judicial system from the accused being the one to prove innocence to accuser to prove the guilt.

– Mr. Utibe Uko, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State

* The jury system is good and will curb the corrupt tendencies of judges if adopted and practiced in Nigeria’s law courts. But this will only work if the members of the selected jury and their families are adequately protected by the law from undue influence, intimidation and pressure from corrupt accused persons and their cronies, and if the Whistleblowers Protection Bill which is pending at the National Assembly is passed speedily and given presidential assent to become a law. No one will want to become a jury member or a prosecution witness if their lives or that of the members of their families are in danger from unscrupulous elements in a trial.

– Mr. Olumuyiwa Olorunsomo, Lagos State

* We should not be in a hurry to borrow what happens in other advanced countries; rather, we should improve gradually and enforce our laws.

– Mr. Feyi Akeeb Kareem, CMF & CDHR, Ogwashi-Ukwu, Delta State

* Yes, it can. It is working in the USA, UK, Japan, India, Indonesia, Italy, Colombia e.t.c. with the following culprits readily coming to mind: Akil Mochtar, Franco Javier Boron, Ricardo Rodriguez, Jack T Camp, Giancarlo Giusti e.t.c. The judge must listen to the jury and be above suspicion. Credibility of the judicial system is grossly dependent on the judges and their integrity, impartiality and intellectual honesty. Those found culpable must be punished appropriately.

– Miss Apeji Patience Eneyeme, Badagry, Lagos State

* I see it here as a hope, because sectionalism, tribalism, religion and above all corruption have all eaten deeply into our system. Let us give jury system a trial but I wonder if they will come from heaven.

– Hon. Babale Maiungwa, U/Romi, Kaduna State

* A jury system will only encourage corruption in Nigeria because jurors will be easier and cheaper to compromise than judges, lawyers or law enforcement agents. Nepotism and tribal sentiments would certainly play roles here as well. A jury system would only show that the ordinary citizens are no different from the judges, lawyers and law officers they produce. Plea bargaining is still our best alternative presently. Its pros for Nigeria far outweigh its cons.

– Mr. Buga Dunj, Jos, Plateau State

* The only impossible journey is the one you never begin.

– Mr. Ezenwa Chika, Ikeja, Lagos

* I believe what the DSS did to the judges is a welcome development because they (judges) chewed more than they could swallow by collecting bribe to deliver judgment. Our judiciary has become ‘the highest bidder gets justice’, and it is no longer the last hope of the common man. The action of the DSS is long overdue for judges who are putting Nigeria to shame. We must support PMB to fight corruption to a standstill before we can move forward. Corruption in Nigeria is something we need to eradicate now to ensure a better tomorrow.

– Mr. Gordon Chika Nnorom, Public Commentator, Umukabia, Abia State

THE FEEDBACK

Yes, jury system can improve corruption trials: 6

No, jury system cannot: 1

Others: 7

Radical tip: It will encourage corruption!

Total no of respondents: 14

Male: 10

Female: 4

Highest location: Lagos (6)

Next Week: How Can Nigeria Conquer Hunger, Ensure Food Security?

As the World Food Day was celebrated around the globe recently, the issue of adequate food for everyone again came to the fore of development planning among nations. Although the current administration in Nigeria has placed some emphasis on agriculture as a viable alternative to oil revenue, millions of citizens still go to bed hungry every night due to inadequate food production, mounting poverty and a harsh economy. To conquer hunger and ensure food security in Nigeria, what can the government and other relevant stakeholders do?

 

Please make your response direct, short and simple, and state your full name, title, organisation, and location. Responses should be sent between today (Oct 20 & Monday, Oct 24) to abimbolayi@yahoo.com, greatbimbo@gmail.com, AND abimbola.akosile@thisdaylive.com. Respondents can also send a short text message to 08023117639 and/or 08188361766 and/or 08114495306. Collated responses will be published on Thursday, October 27