The Federal Government, in a recent broadcast by the Acting President, announced plans to designate some specific courts to handle corruption cases as part of judicial reforms to check public and private sector corruption in Nigeria. Given past records where only one ex-Governor has been tried and convicted for corruption among several other cases, do you think these new special courts can ensure effective prosecution and deterrence against looting and corruption in Nigeria?

ABIMBOLA AKOSILE

* No need for Special Courts, the relevant laws and the already existing courts are more than enough. The issue is lack of will to enforce the laws of Nigeria.

Mr. Utibe Uko, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State

* Special courts? Will they be manned by ‘special’ people and not the same ones we already know? What we need is a change of mindset and political will to holistically tackle corruption, not special anything. Corruption thrives because of our present mindset that sees government’s money as nobody’s money.

Mr. John Ogunsemore, Lagos State

* It may create more jobs, increase government spending but won’t make any difference to the rate of convictions. The problem is not with the tool but the personnel.

Mrs. Ada Agina-Ude, Gender and Development Action, Surulere, Lagos

* One of the greatest threats against the fight to check corruption is the failure of getting the accused persons indicted. We therefore need to have a special court made up of Judges with integrity to ensure that the citizenry get justice for the embezzlement of their patrimony by charlatans and greedy people. This will be the revolution we need to move the course of justice forward.

Prof. Kate Nwufo, mni, Abuja

* We do not need special courts as our resources are already depleted. Why waste more on a wild goose chase?

Ms Nkeiruka Abanna, Lagos

* Special courts certainly can. They can provide speedier trials and save costs. However, it may not be very useful in loot recovery as all the regular convictions we have had so far have not included recovery of stolen funds. Only through seizures or plea bargaining has loot been recovered. As far as prevention is concerned, even the maximum sentence allowed for corruption cases is not enough of a deterrent for Nigerians. The only language we understand is that of preventing the crime before it happens, and blocking of leakages is our safest bet.

Mr. Buga Dunj Jos, Plateau State

* There is no policy without its flaws, let it be done!

Mr. Bankole Kupolokun, Lagos State

* Yes, the Federal Government’s honest decision to designate some specific courts to handle corruption cases in Nigeria will spur judicial reforms and ensure effective prosecution and deter all looters. A combination of the special courts and the implementation of the mutual legal assistance bill passed recently by the House will aptly ground corruption especially with the spate of our current political will. Nigerians are glad.

Miss Apeji Patience Eneyeme, Badagry, Lagos State

* We need judicial reforms before the special courts for corruption. The judicial arm of government is under-staffed, poorly motivated, poorly equipped, and judges are now into self-help. Without these reforms, no special court will make the required difference.

Mr. Ikpa Matthew, Asokoro, Abuja

* No, special courts cannot check corruption in Nigeria. The judiciary has deeply compromised their integrity and they sell justice to only highest bidders. The poor face jungle justice and the jurors and lawyers suddenly get rich and flaunt such injustice publicly. No tangible result therefrom but colossal waste, polluted system, poverty and grave insecurity as usual.

Mr. Apeji Onesi, Lagos State

* Who are to man the special courts; angels from heaven? As far as Nigerians are concerned, it is only God that would help us check corruption and doing His will greatly help us eradicate corruption.

Hon. Babale Maiungwa, U/Romi, Kaduna

* At the end of the day, they will set up a committee, just like Oputa Panel, appoint the same lawyers that have been unable to effectively discharge their duties. No need, waste of time, money and energy; please scrap it.

Mr. Adegun Abiodun Mathew, Lagos State

* The battle against corruption is one this country has to fight to a standstill and it should be all-encompassing. However, the issue of special courts is a delicate one. Why don’t we just re-jig what we already have, like the EFCC, for instance? Do we need to tinker with the Act establishing it to give it sharper teeth? We spend too much money paying salaries in this country – special courts to fight corruption will have to be staffed. This’ll drain more money.

Mr. E. Iheanyi Chukwudi, B.A.R., Apo, Abuja

* Special courts will alleviate or wipe corruption out, if some retired judges with track records are appointed with a time-frame in which to dispense each case; especially the ones since the inception of this administration. As it was said, “justice delayed is justice denied”.

Mr. Dogo Stephen, Kaduna State

* Corruption is not the problem of Nigeria but leadership. We need leaders that will strengthen our institutions. Special courts will only enhance the process by reducing the long years spent in concluding one case; after all the judges will not come from the moon or heaven but from the system. Fighting corruption depends on our laws and institutions.

Mr. Egbuna Nduanya, political scientist and Analyst, Enugu State

* It is a welcome development if there are specific courts for alleged corrupt individuals to be prosecuted. But the courts should avoid selective prosecution.

 – Mr. Yusuf M.B.O, Nda Aliu, Kwara State

* There is no need of designating some specific courts to check and handle corruption in Nigeria. There is need to strengthen the existing structure and institutions that provide the enabling environment to make courts to perform their functions accurately. The Federal Government should also develop the strong political will and be honesty in fighting corruption.

Mr. Michael Adedotun Oke, Founder Michael Adedotun Oke Foundation, Abuja

* In Nigeria where corruption is tried from opposition camp? We are waiting to see if this is another means of witch hunt.

Mr. Aregbesola Abiodun, Lagos State

* Although it is hard to find integrity in the judicial system nowadays, special courts can really make a difference in curbing corruption in Nigeria. The selected judges will be under constant public scrutiny and they will strive to justify the confidence reposed in them, and ensure convictions that can stand appeal and higher decisions. However, there must be strict checks and balances in the appointment of such judges, to check undue influence by corrupt persons.

Mr. Olumuyiwa Olorunsomo, Lagos State

THE FEEDBACK

Yes, they can: 6

No, they cannot: 5

Others: 8

Radical tip: Sincere leaders!

Total no of respondents: 19

Male: 15

Female: 4

Highest location: Lagos (9)

Next Week: Can Regional Autonomy Prevent Nigeria’s Breakup?

Although personalities have been calling for restructuring of Nigeria, recent calls for separation by various ethnic groups and regions present a present danger to the country’s existence as a single corporate entity. In your view, can regional autonomy – where regions are strengthened to harness comparative advantages to develop themselves and only contribute to the centre – help avert a collapse of the current federal structure?

Please make your response direct, short and simple, and state your full name, title, organisation, and location. Responses should be sent between today (June 15 & Monday, June 19) 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, June 22