“In conclusion, I find no merit in the appeal which is accordingly dismissed.” – Justice Walter Onnoghen of the Supreme Court.
“He expresses disappointment over the judgement of the apex court in the country on the six grounds of appeal.” – Yusuph Olaniyonu, spokesman for Bukola Mesujamba Saraki
Our Constitution guarrantees the right to equality before the law. For most part of our history, our justice system has not been accessible, fair, and accountable to the poor. In Nigeria, it is not uncommon to send a man to jail for stealing mangoes to feed his family, while the thieves who milk the country dry go free.
Rich people in Nigeria get off easier when they break the law. Our criminal justice system treats rich people differently than poor people. There is double standard depending on how much money a defendant has to navigate the criminal justice system than for people without.
A just society we believe, is one in which everyone is treated equally before the law. Equality under the law is a prerequisite for a just society. There is good reason to believe that the Nigerian criminal justice system has two laws – one for the rich and one for the poor. The rich regularly get away with looting billions and even if they’re caught, get nothing more than a slap on the wrist. Ordinary Nigerians who are convicted of petty street crimes or minor offenses can go to jail for years – even decades.
The Nigerian criminal system is like a spider web, ensnaring the weak, the poor, and the defenseless while the rich break free. Ours is a privilege system where we enforce laws differently based on status. There is a widening gap in both wealth and law. Take the members of the National Assembly who are engulfed in corruption. None of the corrupt abusers have gone to jail. In fact, some deranged Nigerians advocate that the thieves be spared jail time once they returned their loot.
Justice means giving each person his or her due. Aristotle, more than two thousand years ago laid down the fundamental principle of justice: “Equals should be treated equally and unequals unequally.” Meaning individuals should be treated the same. It is just when people who have done wrong are given punishments that are commensurate to their offenses. Retributive or corrective justice must be met with punishments that are fair and just.
In the past, Bukola Mesujamba Saraki because of his stolen wealth, has abused and misused the legal system and make a mockery of our criminal justice. All the years, Bukola Mesujamba Saraki has been shielded, protected, and absolved from criminal prosecution by his god fathers in politics, in industry, and by our corrupt judges bought at basement prices – buy one get all free! These god fathers for criminals sit on top of prosecution pyramids who have committed crimes more virulent than 99% of those serving their time in prisons now. Despite the fact that Saraki is an organized crime figure and numerous investigations that lasted years, Saraki was never charged with a crime – until now.
Take a look at few of Mesujamba’s crime spree:
He was accused of “dual citizenship” and so cannot be the Senate President.
He was caught in the web of forgery of Senate Standing Orders. The police investigated the matter and submitted its report to the Attorney General of the Federation. So far, nothing has been done to the report.
As governor of Kwara State, he was said to have embezzled billions. As a Senator, he’s awash in treasury loot i.e. CBN, Dasukigate, name it.
His wife Toyin Saraki according to EFCC, was allegedly involved in a N2 billion fraud. The case still pending.
EFCC claimed Mr. Saraki and Mr. Kennedy Izuagbe were involved in Societe Generale Bank’s money laundering to the tune of N3.6 billion.
According to reports, Saraki was responsible for the collapse of three or more banks.
The latest of the anti-corruption war against Mr. Saraki is the 13-count charge of falsification of assets declaration leveled against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).
Mr. Saraki is popular with the annual ritual of stampedes. The harvests of death stain Mr. Saraki’s hands. On November 17th, 2010, at least, 11 supporters died in his Mandate House Campaign Headquarters. On May 27th, 2011, up to 25 people died in the pandemonium following the distribution of six yards of cloth and N500 to mark the inauguration of Mr. Saraki as the Governor of Kwara State.
In 2013, the media variously reported between 10 and 20 deaths during a stampede at a gathering in Ilorin organized by Mr. Saraki where he distributed money and pieces of cloth. Premium Times quoted a mortuary source at the Sobi Specialist Hospital in Ilorin as having counted 15 corpses. The rumor mill in Ilorin put the number of deaths at 40 from the tragic stampede.
A lot of power, mystery, and myth surround Saraki. He certainly has influence and friends in high places and was able to tell them what to do and how to act or what not to do or how not to act. He bought his way through – easy. He has strong ties in government, business, judiciary, name it. Saraki was an imposing criminal who demonstrates both criminal talents and special con skills coupled with his political stature and clout. That gave him an incredible reach, and incredible clout. Bukola Mesujamba Saraki is a crime boss beyond his middle name – Mesujamba.
The cash and carry five-man panel of the Supreme Court headed by the retired Justice John Fabiyi had put Saraki’s trial on hold. But all is about to change now. In a reversal of fortune for Mesujamba, last Friday, a seven-man bench led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed effectively vacated the order of stay of proceedings earlier granted by the Fabiyi Court. Saraki was charged with 13-count for allegedly “corruptly acquired many properties while in office as Governor of Kwara State, but failed to declare some of them in the said forms earlier filed and submitted.” He is also accused of sending money abroad for the purchase of a property in London, Britain and that he maintained an account outside Nigeria while serving as governor.
Justice Walter Onnoghen, who delivered the lead judgment dismissed all Saraki’s seven grounds of appeal, affirming that the charges brought against him were valid and that the tribunal was validly constituted with requisite jurisdiction to try him. “In conclusion,” says Justice Onnoghen, “I find no merit in the appeal which is accordingly dismissed.”
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has lined up eight witnesses that will eventually nail Saraki’s political coffin by sending him to Kuje or Kirikiri for his smorgasbord of crimes.
Hellooo Bukola Mesujamba Saraki… Can you hear me now? Why are you still hanging on to the Presidency of the Senate? We know you have no name or reputation left to protect, but don’t you think it’s time for you to resign from the Senate? Are you ready to face the music now? Well, you have no choice than to take your medicine like a man. Dino Buffoon Melaye the Saraki “bodyguard,” the Toyin Saraki “handbag carrier,” are you there? It’s me, can you hear me good now? You’re on your way back home to Kogi. The Kogi West Peoples Forum (KWPF) wants you back home for your “grandiose display of infantile exuberance, cronyism, for infamy, for neglecting primary responsibility to Senatorial District, for unwanted ego tripping, personal aggrandizement and other shameful vices unbecoming of Distinguished Senator.” Get ready to be shipped back to Kogi and stop embarrassing the Kogi people who sent you to Abuja.
Let the trial of Bukola Mesujamba Saraki begins in earnest!