Yusuf Olarewaju Aluko is the current Head of Chambers, Saad Y.K. & Co in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital. He speaks with our JUDICIARY CORRESPONDENT, KAYODE ADEOTI on the need for Federal Government to curb incessant killings in some parts of the country among other sundry issues. Excerpts:
What is the update on the judicial autonomy President Muhammadu Buhari assented to?
One must appreciate the President for looking into the issue of Judiciary autonomy. It has been generating debate in both the lower and upper chambers of National Assembly. Probably because of political undertones, we were unable to realise it on time, but to God be the Glory, it has been signed into law. The issue of autonomy in the judiciary, especially in the state, will go a long way to assist the dispensation of justice, it will also enhance judges, capability to do justice to any case they might come across, be it political or other civil cases. Autonomy is that privilege given to an authority of the judiciary to manage it the way they see it best. If the financial strength of the judiciary still lies in the executive, it means, executive have the power to determine what goes on in the judiciary. The development will sanitise the country especially on the issue of corruption we are all yearning to bury.
Some members of the public have said the perpetual killings in some states in Nigeria are being carried out by foreigners who have infiltrated the country…?
(Cuts in) There won’t be a straightforward approach to this question because the menace has been on even before this present administration. Some are saying it is political issue, some said it is infiltration from the war countries. I think government should go to the grassroots, call some community or state meetings to identify causes of the problems that have continued unabated. What we were made to believe before was that the crisis was between herdsmen and farmers, but, it is more than that. If these meetings could be convened, government will from there be able to make some laws that will make these perpetrators sheath their swords. If it is truly an issue of infiltration, government should ensure those security agencies saddled with the responsibility of protecting our borders are up and doing. They should ensure nobody comes into the country illegally and there should be proper documentation of migrants.
What would you say is responsible for ritual killings in Kwara State?
On the issue of ritual killings, poverty is the cause. Majority of those who engage in this venture do it to earn a living. Everybody is trying to earn a living at all cost, in fact, some don’t mind killing their siblings, children for it. The best and the only way this can be curbed is for the government to make jobs available for the yearning youths. If our youths are busy in one way or the other, it will reduce the ritual killings and improve the standard of living. More so, the police are trying but I think government needs to increase their number so that they will be able to monitor the nooks and crannies of the state. I will also suggest that our courts should give any ritual killing matter accelerated hearing so that people who might still want to indulge in the act can learn. If members of the society see the punishment meted out by court to those found culpable, honestly it will reduce number of those intending…
What is your perception of corruption fighting agencies in Nigeria?
I will like to commend our anti-graft agencies for their efforts in sanitising the society. As a lawyer, I know so well their efforts. The previous governments we had only paid lip service, none has performed like this present administration in terms of fighting corruption headlong. But we need to know that there is no way the corruption fighting agencies could have had perfect operations, there will still be some flaws maybe in their investigation, maybe they are rushing to prosecute thereby not having enough evidences to present or tender before the court. But, to me, in all, they are trying because people are now having that fear that EFCC is there to check their activities. The only problem of this country is corruption, people cry everyday because the ways of getting money is not easy, and for someone to now siphon it, it is quite bad. People now have the mind of doing things properly lest the public call them to give account of their stewardship. A bank officer was telling me recently that people don’t bring huge amount of money to bank again saying they now know that once they bring such money, the bank officer will alert EFCC and by that, trouble could start especially if the source of that amount is not decent. People are now trying to live in accordance with their means.