27 March 2013

Nigeria: Ogun Govt Recommends Death Penalty for Corruption

Abeokuta — The Ogun State Government recommended death penalty for corrupt practices in the country, calling for an urgent review of the Nigerian criminal code and the Magistrate Court laws to sentence people found guilty of corruption to death.

The Secretary to the State Government, Taiwo Adeoluwa stated this Wednesday at the annual conference of the Magistrates' Association of Nigeria in the State.

Adeoluwa, who presented a paper titled "Criminal Code, Magistrate Court Law of Ogun State and the Recent Trend of Crimes: A Call for Urgent Reformation", submitted that if this is done, the country would be rid of corruption and corrupt practices.

He noted that provisions of the statues on stealing or misappropriation of public funds were alien to Nigeria and should be amended to conform with present realities.

" Nigeria penal policy is at cross roads. The starting point to the fixing of this problem is to learn from our mistakes and endeavour to formulate policies on the basis of our experience. In whatever way it is formulated, it is important that the policy must adopt strategies or measures which may include harmonizing our criminal laws, the removal of factors that encourage criminal behaviour, the offer of incentives and disincentives, education, deterrents and at the extreme end, sanctions.

"Also, in view of the fact that the code allows greater sentencing discretion within each offence grade, there is the need to reform the code in such a way as to limit sentencing discretion so as to eliminate instances of disparate sentences for similar offenders committing offenses.

"Corruption is posing a serious danger to the existence of the Nigerian nation today, stating that it is high time we began to excommunicate or eliminate people found guilty of corruption as it is being done in some countries like China

"In the light of the danger corruption now poses to our existence as a nation today, it is high time we began to excommunicate or even eliminate people found guilty of corruption. After all, in China , economic crimes attract maximum punishment. It may look extreme but I think we can go the China way.

"Plea bargaining in itself is not destructive mechanism, but rather a constructive one. Its essence is to expedite the process of justice and clear the court's desks to make way for the tons of litigation flooding the court.

"The reality is that our recent experiments with the procedure shows that it is billionaire offenders that have the privilege, while the common man is sentenced to five years imprisonment for stealing an item worth less than N100" , Adeoluwa explained.

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