Umar Dahiru, a former chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, and Legal Matters, claims that Nigerians have lost faith in the nation’s judicial system while the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal continues to meet.
When Justice Sleeps: Burning Issues and Crises in the Administration of Justice in Nigeria was the topic of a speech by Dahiru on Thursday in Abuja.
The ex-lawmaker named corruption, ethnicity, religion, and other factors as the main barriers to the administration of justice in Nigeria.
He claimed that the publication of the book coincides with Nigerians’ desire for justice on electoral matters during the February and March elections.
Dahiru bemoaned the fact that justice is “sleeping” in Nigeria, using the metaphor of people’s declining faith in the country’s judicial system.
This book could not have arrived at a better moment than right now, when the entire Nigerian legal system appears to have “slept” in fact. Look all around us.
“The majority of Nigerians no longer trust our legal system to uphold the rule of law. Cases drag on in court for years at a time, putting the adage “justice postponed is justice denied” into practice.
“Recently the words ‘Go to Court’ in the context it has been used in recent times appear to have become a tool of oppression,” he added. “Those giving the advice are impliedly admitting and acknowledging the blatant ignominious lack of justice in Nigeria’s judicial system: when justice sleeps.”
The book’s author, Matthew Okeke, also spoke and bemoaned the nation’s failing legal system.
He asserted, “The [court] system is not functioning well. There is a great deal of public unhappiness since it is not meeting the requirements of the people or the citizenry.
“This remark is not intended to cast aspersions on specific individuals or the institution; rather, it is intended to get us thinking about how we might make improvements to the system we now use to better serve the interests of the public.
“From what we hear and witness every day, none of us ought to feel at home or rejoice in it. Justice is still alive and well.
“We only need to change our attitudes and the laws in order for it to start functioning properly and meeting our requirements. Some of our laws require revision.
In reality, I must argue that generally speaking, we do not give justice issues enough attention.
On May 8, the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal got going with challenges to Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s victory from Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, Peter Obi of the Labour Party, and others.