By Ndidi Chukwu
The Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ilorin branch, Mr. Mansuma Issa has advocated capital punishment for corrupt public servants in the country.
Issa, who made the suggestion in llorin, Kwara while speaking with newsmen also said that the punishment should be extended to other African countries.
He decried the level of corruption in Africa, especially in Nigeria, and said that capital punishment would stem graft and brazen looting of public funds.
According to him, countries like Singapore, China, Taiwan, Vietnam and South Korea which adopted death penalty to curb corruption had succeeded in fight against corruption.
The NBA chairman said that corruption had become endemic in Africa and had necessitated the association’s support for the corruption war being fought by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
He lamented that funds which would have been spent on the health, education and agriculture as well as for the fight against terrorism were diverted to individual pockets.
He called for the strengthening of the judiciary so that offenders could face trial in accordance with the law.
The Chairman said that the Nigerian judiciary was still operating pre-independence pattern and in colonial courts where judges still wrote in long hands, describing the act as “very stressful and retrogressive’’.
He appealed to the federal and state governments to provide the judiciary with verbatim recording machines to ease their assignments.
He assured that judges in the country could still be trusted, especially in the fight against corruption.
Issa, however, admitted that there might be few cases of corruption in the judiciary and urged the disciplinary committee of NBA not to take the issue of corruption in the judiciary lightly.
He said that any judge found guilty should be dealt with accordingly.
On Constitution amendment, he said that the 1979 Constitution was well crafted except for the variation in the laws of the principles of federalism and the control of resources.
He called for the modification of those areas of the Constitution, noting that there was no “perfect constitution’’ anywhere in the world but a “workable constitution’’.
Issa disclosed that the greatest challenge facing NBA in Kwara was allegations of diversion of clients’ funds by some of its members.
He warned that anyone found wanting in such allegation would be forwarded to the national disciplinary committee of the association for necessary action.
He urged the government to improve the condition of the prisons, saying that it was also part of the challenges the association faced while fighting for the right of its clients.
He described the condition of Nigerian prisons as embarrassing and dehumanising and said that inmates should not be treated as enemies of the people.