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No More Plea Bargains, CJN Orders

As part of reforms in the judiciary, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Dahiru Musdapher has declared the concept of plea bargain as not only illegal but unconstitutional saying it encourages corruption and hence must be stopped. He said the dubious idea was mooted by corrupt men to shield high profile thieves from justice.
“This is a novel concept of dubious origin. It was invented to provide soft landing to high profile criminals who loot treasury entrusted on them,” the CJN stated.
Justice Musdapher also frowned at court injunctions approved by judges to block law enforcement officers from carrying out their assignments as in the case of the former Governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili, who got a perpetual court injunction barring the anti-corruption police from investigating or prosecuting him for alleged financial offences he committed during his tenure as governor from 1999-2007.
He said such injunctions are obstacles in the wheel of government’s fight against corruption.
The CJN made this public at the opening session of the 5th Annual Section of Legal Practice (SLP) of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) in Abuja.
Represented at the function by Supreme Court Justice, Justice Sylvester Nguta, Musdapher said, “Injunctions against law enforcement agents is another obstacle to uproot corruption in the country. The guilty are afraid and when a man who has abused the public trust reposed in him feels the heat of approaching long arm of the law, he rushes to a judge with flexible conscience who makes him untouchable to the law enforcements,” the CJN added.
While advocating for the provision of suspended sentences in Nigerian law to help decongest prisons, Justice Musdapher lashed out at the practice of parading suspects before the media even when they have not been charged for any offences saying it traumatizes and leaves a stigma on accused persons when a court finds them not guilty.
“As often in the case, when he is set free because he has no case to answer he goes home in shame, a damaged man without apology or compensation,” the CJN said.

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