I have been holding this topic back, intending to have a thorough essay or exposé on the Nigerian justice system and the possibility of prison reforms but I haven’t gotten down to it yet. So, until I roll off my lazy backside and get to work, bear with me and manage this short musing on my personal view of the matter.
Justice in Nigeria is all about guilty until proven innocent, unless you are a politician then it’s innocent until proven innocent. There are so many people in prison who’ve been awaiting trial for many years (if not decades) for a crime they didn’t commit. Many die in the horrid conditions that are not fit for pigs. While other innocents are eventually tried and executed.
We live under a justice that is not interested seeking the truth only scapegoats. A system where someone is accused of stealing N10,000 and goes to prison while another is proven guilty of stealing $100 million but walks free. Where anything can happen and the court clerk’s pocket is never full enough.
We have a justice that is yet to be introduced to something called investigation, and so being at the wrong place at the wrong time could mean your execution while the culprits run free. How much innocent blood do the police and judiciary have on their hands? How many good people have been slaughtered for the guilty and their deaths hailed as justice?
Then there is the atrocity that is jungle justice, where a person is accused, charged, and executed by kerosene fire, all in one breath. How can ordinary people take another person’s life just like that? Within minutes of catching the N100 thief, he is dead. While the police sit back and watch – with amusement written on their faces – the grotesque bloodthirsty display being carried out by civilians. Stop hailing them! Arrest the vampires that administer jungle justice.
People, we have a very long way to go.