Henry Okah was convicted by a South African Court.
The Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, on Monday called for the overhauling of Nigeria’s justice system in order to speed up the dispensation of criminal cases in the country.
The Chairman of the Ikeja Branch of the Association, Onyekachi Ubani, made the call while reacting to the conviction of Nigerian militant leader, Henry Okah, by a South African Court, for acts of terrorism.
Mr. Okah was on Monday found guilty by the court for masterminding the 2010 Independent Day car bombing which killed 12 people in Abuja.
He was convicted by a Johannesburg High Court Judge, Neels Claassen, on a 13-count charge of acts relating to terrorism.
Mr. Ubani said that the major lesson Nigeria should learn from Mr. Okah’s conviction was how to fast track the dispensation of justice in its legal system.
He said the Nigeria justice system was slow, ineffective, and inefficient to meet the wishes and aspirations of the Nigerian people.
“Former Delta State governor, James Ibori, was jailed by a UK Court, whereas the crime was committed in Nigeria. Now, Okah has been convicted by a South African Court for an offence also committed in Nigeria.
“This shows that there is something fundamentally wrong with our criminal justice system and it needs to be overhauled”, Ubani said.
He said had Mr. Okah been charged for the offence in Nigeria, the matter would not have gotten to conviction stage as at now.
“His brother (Charles) and some other persons were arrested and arraigned for the same offence in Nigeria but the matter is still proceeding at a very slow pace”, Mr. Ubani said.
He, however, said Mr. Okah, who is the leader of the militant group, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), has the right to appeal the judgement.
The NBA chairman also condemned the recent attack on the Emir of Kano, Ado Bayero, by some suspected terrorists.
“We have a lot of agencies responsible for combating terrorism in Nigeria, but these agencies need to brace up to their duties.
“We should not allow terrorists to take over our country and the only way to do that is to bring the perpetrators to justice,” he said.
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