Defective Laws Responsible for Strange Court Judgments, Says Dibia


Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

An Abuja-based legal practitioner, Mr. Emma Dibia has identified bad and obsolete laws as the reason for some of the confusing rulings by the courts in recent times.

Dibia, a former Legal Adviser to the Speaker of Delta State House of Assembly, has said there is an urgent need for constitutional reforms as a solution to the controversies that have trailed some judicial pronouncements, especially the recent Supreme Court judgements especially in Imo and Bayelsa states.

He expressed the views during an interview he granted THISDAY in Abuja after the public presentation of his new book, “Why Government Fails” to mark his 50th anniversary.

Giving insight on the issues discussed in the book, the lawyer said that he tried to x-ray 50 reasons the country “is in the current state.”

He said no society “will function without proper and functional laws. Our laws are not very active. They are bad laws. They are old laws and they are long overdue for reformation. All of that affects us”.

He, also, said the book identified leadership flaws that constituted major problem in Africa, noting that there “is indiscipline on the part of government and on the part of the people.

“If you are disciplined, you will not be corrupt. It is actually the bad laws that we have that you saw playing out in those judgements that you heard. Those judgements were not as per the minds of the judges, they followed the law, even if the law is bad, that is the law. So the book actually proffers solution.

“Though politicians are needed to win elections because of their understanding of the grassroots and mobilization ability. Because of their high level of indiscipline and corruption, they should work at the party level.

“We need politicians to win elections because they know the grassroots, they mobilise and they know all the intrigues. But we do not need them in government because they will never drop their character when they come into government and take it or leave it, there is no decent politician anywhere in the world.

“I am looking forward to a president that would win election, gather his party leaders, explain to them why they can’t come. We have very bad laws, those are things affecting us,” the lawyer explained.

Specifically, he explained that the fate suffered by the All Progressive Congress (APC) Bayelsa state governor-elect, David Lyon could be blamed on constitutional flaws and not on the Supreme Court Judges.

He said the recent Supreme Court judgments were not the making of the justices of the apex court, but offshoots of Nigeria’s obsolete and archaic laws which are begging for urgent reforms.

He said: “We have very bad laws. Those are things affecting us. On the Bayelsa issue, for instance, no one said the deputy governor-elect forged his name, just that he changed things severally. He was removed on that basis and it became the will of the people.

“In a functional legal system, they would rather take him out alone and get another deputy not that he would deny even the governor-elect because he did not have issues. These are bad laws that are affecting us which I addressed in that book.”