Sacred Cows And The Judiciary —Fadesire Temitope


It is sad that in Nigeria that “Nobody is above the law” is only a slogan and mere clause that is applicable to a very few set of Nigerians while others are under the law. Since independence the sacred cow syndrome has eaten deep into our democratic system and has left an indelible stigma on our democracy. There are certain people that if caught committing crime, would be allowed to go scot-free. The judiciary whose job is to maintain equity before the law also tries to play hide and seek game on a serious issue affecting the nation.

Key players in the third organ of government in the country, who are saddled with the responsibility to adjudicate and bring about justice in the society, have compromised the prestigious offices and themselves. Recall when a top official of federal high court in Abuja, visited the EFCC headquarters and told the anti-graft agency that it should operate within the bounds their duties prescribed by the constitution. He stressed that the EFCC should stop harassing public officers in respect to the detention of the gap-toothed former speaker of the House of Representatives.

The best thing the Attorney General could do is to accuse the EFCC of not carrying out proper investigation before the arrest of the former speaker, and referring the case, if it were, to be USA. We all know that the United States is a developed nation, this is Nigeria, and we are still developing. Can a public officer, especially the Attorney-General challenge the duties of the FBI or the CIA in US? And all this is designed to protect the sacred cow.

The existence of sacred cows in Nigeria is a slap in the face of our judiciary. It has whittled down the power given to the judiciary by the constitution to fight for a just society. Can we say our judiciary is not corrupt? It is normal that cases involving sacred cows are usually swept under the carpet.

My only fear is the weakness of the judiciary to adjudicate properly cases involving the sacred cows even in the nearest future.

This is one of the greatest challenges facing National judicial council (NJC). The NJC should embark on new reforms that would rejuvenate the judicial system.

This wilful act of treating the elites with kid gloves, giving them free hand to do whatever they like, is uncalled for, and need urgent action.

This is a clarion call for the judicial system to restore the integrity of the third arm of government. Starting from the minister of justice and attorney general, chief justice of the federation, president of the court of appeal, chief judges, and all judges at all levels whether at the bench or not. The judiciary should not be used as a tool of manipulating and misinterpreting the constitution to satisfy personal desire.


•Fadesire, a student of LASU writes from Lagos

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