As controversies trail the judgment delivered by Justice Abubakar Talba of the Abuja High Court in the conviction of a former Director of Police Pension Board, Yakubu Yusufu, Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi has said that Nigerians should advocate for a review of the nation’s criminal and penal codes rather than condemn the judge.
The Governor stated this while inaugurating the Justice Funmilola Adekeye’s Best Graduating Law student Award for the Ekiti State University and Afe Babalola University law students in Ado Ekiti on Thursday. The award was endowed in honour of Justice Funmilola Adekeye, who retired as justice of the Supreme Court, recently.
Dr. Fayemi said though Yakubu’s offence was grave and deserved a strict penalty, the judge cannot be blamed for following the provision of the penal code which he described as faulty by providing a clause for the accused person to escape punishment.
The Governor said the criminal and penal codes should be reviewed and harmonised in the interest of justice in the country even as he described as worrisome situations when it was clear that someone was guilty of an offence but the law was loose in exerting commensurate punishment on the accused.
Fayemi expressed worry at the whereabouts of the reports of Justice Karibi-Whyte’s National Committee for the Unification of the Criminal code and Penal code in Nigeria during the General Ibrahim Babangida’s era.
He urged the committee on the Justice Administration Reform to critically look into the harmonisation of the two laws in order to return sanity in verdicts on corruption-related matters; saying that a lot of malfeasance has entered the country, while the nation now celebrates mediocrity and corruption instead of excellence and integrity.
On the award, Fayemi stated that nothing could be more rewarding than to honour the retired Supreme Court Judge, Adekeye, whose grandparents are of Ekiti extract and is married to an Ekiti, because she stood for the values for which Ekiti people are known.
Each best graduating female student of EKSU and ABUAD is to get a sum of One hundred thousand Naira (N100,000) and a laptop computer from the State Government as their award.
In her remarks, Justice Adekeye said the review of the penal code was long overdue because it was a product of the Colonialists and was handed over to the country with its defects.
Adekeye stated that the culture of Nigerians at the time of making the law was different from what obtains now as the nation now tilts towards a “criminal world” with terrorism and crime on the prowl.
Also speaking at the event, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloma Mukhtar who was represented by Justice Olukayode Ariwoola lauded the Ekiti State Government for instituting the award in honour of Adekeye; saying that the gesture is the first in Nigeria even as she deserved to be rewarded for serving the nation’s judiciary and retired without blemish.
At the event were the Vice Chancellors of the benefitting Universities: Professor Dipo Aina (EKSU) and Professor Sidi Oso (ABUAD), and the Chairman of the State Justice Administration Reform committee, Mr Wale Fapohunda among others.
Last modified: February 1, 2013