By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has expressed shock at the acquittal of several high profile individuals charged with corruption saying that it was time for the country to invite international lawyers to prosecute high profile corruption cases.
CISLAC in a statement Friday night particularly lamented what it described as the obvious fact of the corruption in the judiciary which it claimed the authorities seem unable to address.
CISLAC in the statement issued by its executive director, Auwal Ibrahim Musa also regretted what it claimed as the lack of synergy among the country’s anti-corruption agencies and called on the authorities to address.
Noting what it described as the seeming poor capacity of the prosecuting personnel, CISLAC said:
“The use of international prosecutors should be explored since national prosecution does not seem to be effective in solving high profile corruption cases. This call is further strengthened on the face of the conviction the British Government was able to achieve on the James Ibori case when the Nigerian authority failed to deal with the situation.
“We urge citizens to continue to demand for accountability from the government and to support the anti-corruption agencies saddled with the responsibility of fighting corruption.
“CISLAC has noted that the lack of synergy among anti-corruption agencies and international bodies has hampered and slowed down this fight. In addition, ill preparations and non-timely prosecution of some cases has led to the acquittal of these allegedly corrupt individuals.
“CISLAC therefore calls for an urgent and expedient judicial reform if the fight against corruption is to have any effect in the country. Special Courts to handle corruption cases should be created as a matter of urgency.
“We further urge the Federal Government to be proactive, thorough in its investigations and gathering of facts before going to court in order to avoid loopholes through which these corrupt individuals can meander their way through.
“CISLAC notes the need for highly experienced lawyers to be recruited to handle these cases in court as inadequate capacity of lawyers handling these high profile cases has worked in the favour of these individuals.
“We observe that there is need for anti-corruption agencies to be adequately funded in order to aid their work. Hence, a collaborative effort on the part of the Judiciary, Executive and Legislature in fighting corruption is expedient.”