Saturday, August 6, 2011


Three Nigerian presidents, five Chief Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, and God knows how many attorney generals, I suspect about six, have all presided over Major Hamza Al Mustapha's trial!

It has taken three administrations, and twelve years, and his trial is no where near conclusion! 

It is indefensible, that a trial would last this long! "Justice delayed, is justice denied" and like Justice Chukwudifu Oputa declared famously"in a criminal trial, justice is tripartite: justice to the accused; justice to the society, and justice to the victim"

In Al Mustapha's case, the fact that his trial has taken this long, is an injustice to all involved! It is an injustice to those who were allegedly killed, that their killer has not been brought to justice! It is also an injustice to the society, that wants to see the offender punished swiftly! Lastly, it is an injustice to Al Mustapha! 

If he is guilty, his punishment should come swiftly! If he is to be sentenced to jail, would the time served already in the course of the trial be taken into account!

Justice must be just! To be otherwise is tyranny!

I know that Al Mustapha elicits extreme contrasting opinions! Some see him as a victim, others see him as a violent criminal!

If we all keep quiet, and say he deserves this treatment, we need to ask ourselves this question, what if we were the ones in his place, and we were actually innocent? 

When an individual's liberties are denied, it is a tacit opening of the door, to the denial of all our liberties! 

We cannot, in trying to punish evil, use evil as a tool of punishment! We run the risk of becoming evil ourselves!

The new, and modern Nigeria we seek to build, has no room for trials that are in danger of becoming a circus, and a travesty of commonsense!

The trial should be concluded quickly, because justice needs to be done, and be seen to be done, quickly! 


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