The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) says the judiciary is in urgent need of reforms and urged the Federal Government to expedite action in this area.
MURIC Director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, in a statement in Lagos on Tuesday, said the call became necessary in order to restore public confidence in the Nigerian judiciary.
“We lament delays in the criminal justice system which allows criminals who have confessed to still continue to maradonise law enforcement agents and judges years after their arrest.
“How can a notorious suspected kidnapper like Chukwudi Onuamadike, popularly known as Evans still be appearing in court years after his celebrated arrest.
“It is sheer gymnastic procrastination. A lot of things are wrong with our judicial system.
“This is a man who confessed to several high profile abductions, including murder. What is he still doing shuttling between courts and detention? He asked.
The MURIC director who also cited the case of the alleged Taraba State kidnap kingpin Hamisu Bala, known as Wadume, said he might not face trial forever if care was not taken.
“This makes a mockery of not only the judicial system but also the war against corruption.
“Although MURIC does not deny that suspects and criminals have certain rights, we contend that it is counter-productive for the judicial system to dignify self-confessed criminals with prolonged and ‘executive’ cases.
“Delays in judgment emboldens criminals. Criminals exploit the various loopholes in the system to their own advantage and hide behind legal technicalities thereby creating the impression of ineptitude on the part of the judiciary,’’ he said.
He added that it was also a pity that Nigeria suffered from a ”desertification of lawyers” of conscience.
“The alacrity with which our lawyers jump at defending criminals constitutes a taint on the integrity of that noble profession.
“The speed with which they grab cases of persons of extremely low morality is quite disturbing. It is a major impediment to the elimination of criminality in the Nigerian society,’’ he said.
Akintola while congratulating President Muhammadu Buhari and his administration for introducing several economic measures to reduce poverty, added that he could still do more to stem the tide of criminality.
“Nigeria can also become a good point of reference in crime-free environments in a not too distant future.
“However, the panacea lies in a well planned, focused and effective reform of the judiciary,“ he said.
Edited by Cecilia Odey/Sadiya Hamza