ABUJA—Immediate past chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mrs. Farida Waziri, yesterday ,lamented the fact that Nigeria was still operating under archaic laws.
She alleged that for over 40 years, the Evidence Act was left to manipulations by crooked persons.
Mrs Waziri, who presided over the public presentation of a book on law of evidence in Nigeria, authored by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Chief Sebastian Hon, in Abuja, said she was particularly happy that the National Assembly finally took courage and amended section 84(1) and (2) of the Evidence Act.
According to her, this has paved way for the admissibility of electronically generated evidence in court.
Reiterating her call for the establishment of a special court to handle financial crimes, Farida, implored Nigerian politicians to purge themselves of corruption and uncanny quest for materialism.
“Sometimes, I really wonder why people will build houses they don’t even need,” Mrs. Waziri said.
Besides, she said Nigerians should not vilify Justice Abubakar Talba of an Abuja High Court who had on January 28, ordered a self-confessed pension thief, Mr John Yakubu Yusufu, to pay a paltry sum of N750,000, despite admitting before the court that he conspired with six other civil servants and stole N23 billion from the Police Pension Fund.
Farida contended that rather than condemn the judge, it was high time Nigerians realized the need for a holistic review of the nation’s criminal justice system vis-à-vis the existing laws.
It will be recalled that Justice Talba had relied on the provision of section 309 of the Criminal Procedure Code, CPC, upon which the EFCC charged the former deputy director of pensions, Yusufu, and convicted him to two years imprisonment on 3-count charge, though with a fine option of N250, 000 for each of the count.
Though the former EFCC boss faulted Justice Talba on the premise that he failed to exercise his discretion judiciously and judicially, she, however, stressed that unless a holistic amendment was effected on our existing laws, such ugly incidents would continue to crop up.