Barrister Mansuma Issa, the Chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Ilorin branch, has lent his voice to that of many Nigerians recommending capital punishment or death penalty for any public officer proved guilty of corruption.
In an interview with newsmen in Ilorin, Kwara State, Mansuma pointed out that he took this position based on the fact that other countries like Singapore, China ,Taiwan ,Vietnam and South Korea were able to succeed in their fight against corruption because they had adopted death penalty as a punishment for being corrupt.
The NBA chairman declared the association’s support for the anti-graft fight of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
He also bemoaned the transfer of public funds into the private pockets of public officials, funds that should have been used to upgrade the health sector, raise the standard of the educational system and improve the agricultural sector of the country as well as fight terrorism. Issa stated that anyone caught in either capital or simple offenses, should be treated in accordance with the provisions of the law.
Barr. Mansuma further revealed that the Nigerian judiciary was still functioning in the pre-independence era and in colonial courts where judges still write in long hands and appealed to the Federal and State governments to upgrade the Nigerian judicial system by procuring verbatim recording machines which will help them carry out their duties with more ease.
He gave an assurance that Nigerian judges could still be dependable, especially with respect to the war against corruption.
Issa, however, acknowledged that there could be a few cases of corruption in the judiciary and encouraged the NBA disciplinary committee not to take the issue of judicial corruption lightly. He said that any judge found guilty should be punished accordingly.
Talking about Constitution amendment, he said that the 1979 Constitution was well done except for the disparity in the laws of the principles of federalism and the control of resources.
The lawyer called for the change of those areas of the Constitution, noting that there was no “perfect constitution’’ anywhere in the world but a “workable constitution.”
He lamented over the degenerating condition of the Nigerian prisons and made a serious, urgent request for the government to ameliorate the condition of the prisons which according to him, should ordinarily serve as reformatory homes.
The advocacy for death penalty against corrupt public officials in Nigeria started last year when the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and civil society pledge their support for Buhari’s war against corruption in a call at a joint press conference held in Abuja addressed by the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, and TUC President, Bobboi Kaigamato.
The groups, just like Barr. Issa, believes that if the policy could work in other countries like China and India, then, it can also work in Nigeria. In the words of Mr. Wabba who noted that NLC was in complete support of whatever will save the country from the claws of corruption
“If such capital punishment (death penalty)can happen in China, India and South Africa, it can also happen in Nigeria; whatever measure that will address the issue of this mind-boggling corruption in the country, NLC will support it.
The NLC President also pointed out the reality of how corruption has eaten so deep into the core of Nigeria’s existence, hence, the need to handle it without fear or favor.
“As organised labor, we firmly believe that the political leadership of our country must act decisively to get us out of the brink of disaster that greed and primitive accumulation [of wealth] through open looting of our commonwealth in the last six and more years, has brought us to.”