Political Killing And Slow Justice In Nigeria
The broad objective of this study is to examine political killing and slow justice in Nigeria using Owerri Municipal in Imo State as case study. Survey research design was employed for the study with the aid of convenience sampling method, 36 lawyers was selected from five Law chambers in Owerri Municipal. Well structure questionnaire was issued to the enrolled participant out of which 30 of the instrument were retrieved and validated for the study. Data was analyzed using simple percentage presented in frequencies and tables. Hypothesis was tested using Chi-Square Statistical package for social sciences (SPSS v.2.3). Findings of the study reveals that elite capitalizes on this weakness and recruits the youths, who not only constitute the pillar of society but also the most vulnerable to the self-inflicted poverty to perpetrate violence and assasination of people who stand on their way of gaining political power. More so, refusal to accept, electoral defeat in good faith is also a fertile factor that can breed thuggery and trigger violence in politic. However the prevalence of delayed justice on political killings in Nigeria is high and this has a great significant impact on victims of political assassination. The study therefore recommend s that that unresolved cases of politically motivated killings should be reopened. Those cases already in the law courts should be diligently prosecuted. There should be no sacred cow. Those convicted of having something to do with political assassination should be banned from political activities for life.
1.1 Background of the Study
Political conflict is an endemic feature of most political systems. This is particularly true of developing nations, including Nigeria, where political conflicts, crises, violence and even assassinations became essential characteristics of the political process, especially after independence. Experience of violence has shown that political conflict, when not properly managed leads to crisis. And crisis if not brought under control results in violence; and violence if not effectively dealt with could lead to assassination, as has been the case in Nigeria. The Nigerian state is one that has experienced different degrees of political assassination with the level of political assassination fast becoming a national nightmare replacing law with lawlessness, order with disorder, peace with violence and love with hate. The inordinate level of barbarism being displayed by members of the Nigerian political class is giving Nigerians a cause for worry. The level of political assassination in Nigeria is a clear manifestation of political vendetta; where peace has given way to violence and assassination has become the norm; where political actors resort to assassination of political opponents all in a bid to attain political power or positions.
The spate of political assassinations in Nigeria has reached an alarming stage with a good number of her prominent politicians and citizens alike lost to this hydra-headed monsters. Accordingly, Elites and politicians recruit unemployed youths into thuggery for their self-aggrandisement during political processes like campaigns and elections to serve as thugs, to snatch ballot papers and ballot boxes (Hassan, 2011). Elite most especially political class who hold political power used various means in order to remain in power without considering the state of socio-political harmony of their respective societies and the sustainability of democracy. This class of people recruits and sponsor some youth that pays allegiance to them and consequently they benefit from the services rendered to them by these thugs. It is against this background that this paper attempts examining the effects political thuggery on democratic sustainability.
However the government of Nigeria is finding it extremely difficult in handling the level of insecurity in the country, which has put the lives of its citizens in danger. Right from second republic till date, the spate of political assassinations has risen in a geometric progression, thus eroding human values such that violence grew in time without proper administration of justice.The administration of justice refers to the maintenance of right within a political community by means of the physical force of the state. It is the state’s application of the sanction of force to the rule of right . But in its broad sense, the administration of justice is involved in the exercise of every governmental function, be it legislative, executive or judicial. It is one of the vital functions of state, for the aim of state and government is the welfare and happiness of the citizens (Ewelukwa,1980 cited in Ayuba,2019).
Bizarrely in the Nigeria Justice system, criminal investigation and slow justice has been the order of criminal justice system hence its absence, tardy or shoddy execution may lead to delay in the administration of justice, the victimization of innocent citizens and escape of offenders from paying for their misdeeds and being reformed.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Political thuggery is a devastating phenomenon in Nigerian politics. It has brought about the loss of lives and valuable properties with socio-political and economic consequences. One reason why politicians engage in political assassination is the quest for political power/positions. The inordinate ambition of Nigeria politicians and the vigor with which they pursue it have made them to go to any length just to attain such power even if it meant taking the lives of those who may pose as hindrance in the pursuit of their ambition. It is regarded as a ‘do or die’ affair.This phenomenon is characterized by crisis, conflict, dispute, rebellion, violence and even war where which victims of political killing never gets justice. According to Umar et’al (2018), delay in the dispensation of justice perse is perceived as inimical to the attainment of substantial justice. In an adversarial system of justice, it is the duty of the accuser referred to as the prosecutor, to ensure that all pieces of evidence which are legally required to prove the charge against the defendant have been collected and collated through investigation and is ready for presentation before the court, for the determination of the defendant‟s guilt or innocence. But there appears to be seemingly delayed justice on political assassination whereby political elite through corruption cover up their blood-sucking mission which is detrimental to human right and erodes the cornerstone of the civilized legal system. Therefore is against this backdrop that this study seeks to examine political killing and slow justice in Nigeria.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The broad objective of this study is to examine political killing and slow justice in Nigeria. Other specific objective includes:
- To examine reasons for political assassination in Nigeria.
- To determine the effect of political killings in Nigeria.
- To investigate the prevalence of delayed justice on political killings in Nigeria.
- To ascertain if there is any significant impact of delayed justice on victims of political assassination.
1.4 Research Hypotheses
The research is guided by the following hypotheses:
- HO1: The prevalence of delayed justice on political killings in Nigeria is low.
HI1: The prevalence of delayed justice on political killings in Nigeria is high.
- HO2: There is no significant impact of delayed justice on victims of political assassination.
HI2: There is a significant impact of delayed justice on victims of political assassination.
1.5 Significance of the Study
The study will be significant to law enforcement agencies, the judiciary and all bodies responsible for administration of justice in Nigeria. Findings from the study will lay emphasis on the need for all the parties involved to be professional in carrying out their duties as well as uphold the nitty-gritty of criminology. To avoid diversion of justice on the platter of corrupt practices. Finally the study will empirically contribute to the body of knowledge and serve as reference material to other student and researchers who wish to conduct further studies in related field.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The scope of this study borders on political killing and slow justice in Nigeria. The study will also discuss causes and effect of political assassination as well the impact of delayed justice of victims of political assassination. The study is however delimited to selected law chambers in Owerri Metropolis in Imo State.
1.7 Limitation of the Study
Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. The significant constraint was the scantiness of literature on the effect of IFRS adoption on small and medium scale enterprise in Nigeria. Thus much time and organization was required in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection. Also the study is limited in scope focusing on law chambers in . On the respondent of the study, only lawyers in selected chambers in Owerri Metropolis in Imo State was sampled for the study. Therefore findings of this study cannot be used for generalization for other State which creates a gap in scope and gives room for further studies.
1.8 Definition of Terms
Political killing may refer to: Extrajudicial killing, the result of a political decision. It is also known as Politicide, a killing based on the victim’s political ideology.
The process or result of using laws to fairly judge and punish crimes and criminals.
Criminal Justice System:
Is the system of practices and institutions of governments directed at upholding social control, deterring and mitigating crime, or sanctioning those who violate laws with criminal penalties and rehabilitation efforts.
Criminology is a field primarily interested in acts constituted as crimes and the subsequent social responses to these criminal acts
Judiciary is the branch of government whose task is the authoritative adjudication of controversies over the application of laws in specific situations.
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
The broad objective of this study is to examine political killing and slow justice in Nigeria using Owerri Municipal in Imo State as case study. Other specific objective includes to examine reasons for political assassination in Nigeria. The study determine the effect of political killings in Nigeria, investigated the prevalence of delayed justice on political killings in Nigeria and ascertained if there is any significant impact of delayed justice on victims of political assassination.
Survey research design was employed for the study with the aid of convenience sampling method, 36 lawyers was selected from five Law chambers in Owerri Municipal. Well structure questionnaire was issued to the enrolled participant out of which 30 of the instrument were retrieved and validated for the study. Data was analyzed using simple percentage presented in frequencies and tables. Hypothesis was tested using Chi-Square Statistical Tool(SPSS v.2.3).
Not long after the return to democratic rule in 1999 following 15 years of uninterrupted military rule, Nigeria witnessed a troubling wave of political assassination. Political assassination became an instrument of settling political scores in Nigeria. Although some of the killings were discountenanced as ordinary murders, the timing of killings leaves no doubt that they were politically motivated. Actions by the government, police and judiciary to stem the ugly tide and find the killers have insufficient and ineffective leading to delay in justice. In spite of the various machineries for criminal justice administration, the problems of delays have rendered the quick dispensation of criminal justice more of a myth than a reality.
Findings of this study revealed that:
- The political elite capitalizes on this weakness and recruits the youths, who not only constitute the pillar of society but also the most vulnerable to the self-inflicted poverty, as their thugs to perpetrate violence. Refusal to accept, electoral defeat in good faith is also a fertile factor that can breed thuggery and trigger violence in politic As well as hunger, marginalisation, incapacitation, intolerance, domination and apathy etc can also cause political violence.
- The effects of the political thuggery basically included creating fear amongst candidates, hindering electorates, killing innocent people, violating human rights, destruction of valuable properties, insecurity during and after elections and poor political culture in Nigerian politics. It is observed that thuggery is being politically and socially motivated affecting different people in different areas. As a result, government and private properties were burnt, valuable properties of different political parties and different individuals were destroyed and burnt. Innocent individuals affected with different degrees of injuries ranging from wounds to loss of lives and valuable properties have all been destroyed on the streets, in their shops, and at homes.
- The prevalence of delayed justice on political killings in Nigeria is high and this has a great significant impact on victims of political assassination.
Base on the findings of this study, the following recommendations were proferred:
- It is expedient that unresolved cases of politically motivated killings should be reopened. Those cases already in the law courts should be diligently prosecuted. There should be no sacred cow. Those convicted of having something to do with political assassination should be banned from political activities for life.
- Use of the youth as political assassins should be mitigated even as youth unemployment should be resolved.
- Politics should be made less lucrative in Nigeria. Legislative position should be made a part-time job and politicians with inexplicable wealth after their tenure should be prosecuted. The code of Conduct Bureau should see to this.
- Political killings would most likely continue unless serious re-orientation of the people towards civilian politics was done to stop the decline in moral code and standard of behavior.
- Laws must advance with the movement of the society to reflect current trends. Gigantic momentous changes are taking place around the globe; Nigeria must not be an exception. The Nigeria Government should realize the need of strengthening the criminal justice sector to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Laws at its substantive and procedural level, depends on its efficiency and effectiveness on the mandate of the lawmakers and the procedure of the law making and its relevance and acceptability of the people.
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