The Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption, Professor Itse Sagay (SAN), has expressed his contentment over the defunct Nigerian jury system which was aimed at cleansing corruption amongst judges.
Prof. Sagay made this known during a one-day discussion forum organized by PACAC in conjunction with the Jury Justice and Rectitude Advocacy Institute (The Jury Movement) in Abuja.
While speaking, the PACAC boss explained that he was not convinced that Nigeria needed a jury system after it had been previously obliterated in 1976. He further noted that arbitrariness and abidance by the law were qualities of a good judge.
Sagay also made it clear that some events which had occurred in the previous years contributed to his change of mind. He highlighted a remarkable instance of a judge appearing before another judge in a loot and bribery case, where the defendant later became a chief defence counsel in his own judgment.
He furthered stated that the issue made him realize that judges, although erudite, could no longer be trusted to be as objective and as impartial as possible, especially when it involves the interest of people in their group. Hence, the importance of an existing jury system could not be overemphasized.
Going on, Mrs Olufemi Fatunde, the reviewer of the Jury Service Bill at the event, debated contrary to the implementation of the jury system. With reference to the already financially challenged sector, she argued that ethnic prejudice and the expensive provision of welfare, allowances, and shelter for jurors were part of the issues affecting the adoption of the jury system.
She added that the available legal structure was sufficient for the judicial sector, but it could be effectively improved.