The vice president-elect Yemi Osinbajo in keynote address at the Platform held in Abuja, said that the country’s criminal justice system needs to be overhauled.
According to him, ‘there are so many initiatives around what we need to do in that area. The United States of America has 300 million people and they have 2.2million people in jail. We have 170million people and we have convicted people of just 12,000.
‘Now if you add those awaiting trials, it comes to about 50,000 but actual convicted people are just 12,000. Truly, it shows you that there is a failure somewhere of our criminal justice system, practically every one of us knows somebody who has stolen something.
He added that the ‘criminal justice system is slow and it almost always ensures that people who have been charged with offences would not be tried forever and after a while people forget that people are on trial. We have to fix the criminal justice system to ensure that criminal trials are speedily handled and anyone guilty of an offence is punished for that offence.
According to Osinbajo, ‘we need to look at law and order. The question of policing our society, how do we police this country? At the moment, we know that policing is ineffective. If the police want to deal with the criminals, you and I know that they are hampered from doing so. They are hampered structurally. They are hampered by the fact that they are not as well equipped as they ought to be. They are not resourced as they ought to be but the structural problem is the major one.
He also said that a country as large as Nigeria needs community policing. He said criminality is always local so we need policemen who can speak the local language and understand the local people and live with the local community.
‘It is disingenuous to accuse everyone who calls for restructuring as trying to break up the county. History tells us that that kind of cheap blackmail will not work as long as the underlying reasons for the agitations persist.’
‘The biggest challenge seems to be that we seem to be allowing moderate voices on this issue to be drowned out by the reckless utterances of a few rabble rousers on all sides who may be tools in the hands of those who do not wish this country well. These are some of the people who arrogate to themselves the toga of spokespersons of our diverse groups.’
-Ex VP Atiku Abubakar on Restructuring.
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