By Collins Yakubu-Hammer
The Open Africa Foundation, a non-governmental organisation has called for strict adherence to the Rule of Law to stimulate growth of a crime and corrupt free Nigeria.
Its Chairman, Mr Tunji Aworinde made the call at the 8th Annual conference on Financial Crime, Cross Border Crime and Governance Integrity on Tuesday in Abuja.
The event was supported by Corporate Integrity, Summit Leadership Institute and Forensic Insight International Limited.
According to Aworinde, the call is imperative towards building a nation characterised by good governance and integrity.
He said there are great institutions in Nigeria, but wondered why lawlessness and disregard to rule of law is still on the rise.
He said that If we want to lead in this new Nigeria, we must all be guided by the rule of law regardless of our social status.
“There is hunger and anger in the land. The way we do things in the past has brought us poverty, insecurity and disappear. All these stemmed from lawlessness. It seems nobody respect the law any longer in Nigeria.
“Judges, police, lawyers, many citizens and even politicians that made the law don’t even respect the law. This is because there are no consequences.
“Those who fear the law are the downtrodden, who have no god fathers, and that is why it is more dangerous to steal a goat then to stealing billions of Naira.
“We want Nigeria to be a country of reason, peace and prosperity. The problems we have is not a natural disaster but a problem brought by our political leaders.
“The solutions to our problem lies in our hands. Our conference is for good governance, capacity building and empowerment and it is against financial crimes. Our campaign is for a new Nigeria, a nation of rule of law, peace and prosperity,” Aworinde said.
According to him, the challenges bedeviling the country are man made, adding that no problem of human density that is beyond human solution.
Also speaking, the Chief Judge of FCT High Court, Justice Husseini Baba-Yusuf, said the recent attacks on the judiciary was bond out of lack of understanding of the judicial processes.
According to him, anyone that understands how the judiciary work will come to trust the judiciary.
“We don’t respond to public sentiment and sympathy. We are bounded by the law. We don’t do anything outside what happen before us in the court, and the laws are there to guide us.
“So whatever we do, we are always guided by the evidences that are produced before the court and the law that support the evidence, and we have judicial precedence.
“There is hardly anything that happens in Nigeria that has not been decided in the court. The public should trust the judiciary because we are all working for same purpose.
“And you will agree with me that without the judiciary in this country, I don’t know what would have become of Nigeria. I think the judiciary have stand strong in uplifting the rule of law in this country, ” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Yusuf was represented at the event by Justice Olukayode Adeniyi of the FCT High Court.
In a paper presentation on “Money Laundering, Prevention and Prohibition,” Prof. Paul Ananaba stressed the need for more intelligence and Artificial Intelligence in addressing money laundry.
According to him, money laundering is an evil that brings other issues and challenges to the country.
“There is need for international cooperation and collaborations. Let us continue to review and build capacity to ensure that we tackle money laundry.
“We must deal in our resolve to see that those who committed the crime should be prosecuted and punished according to the laws.
“One of our major problems is that, those who investigates do not have direct link to the prosecution team. Thus, the investigation team must also have prosecution team in it.
“Also, our crime cases should be timed. The judges that would handle the case should be dedicated. They should not handle other cases that would distract them.
“The National Orientation Agency should wake-up and do the needful. They should always reorient citizens of our values, because, people who stole money are worshiped and as such they escape justice,” Ananaba said.
NAN reports that the event attracted officials from the Nigeria Police Force, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, ICPC, CBN, FIRS, judiciary, INEC, NAPTIP, Legal Aid Council, Nigeria Computer Society, among others. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Rabiu Sani-Ali