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Opinion

Could the Death Penalty Be the Ultimate Solution for Corrupt Transactional Justice Practitioners? -By John Egbeazien Oshodi

Adegboruwa’s Revelation: Illuminating the Shadows of Transactional Justice and Advocating for the Death Penalty to Safeguard Society. A Wide-ranging Inquiry by a Psychologist.

In the BarristerNG news article titled “Justice For Sale?” written by lawyer Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN, and dated September 26, 2023, a deeply concerning issue regarding the state of justice in Nigeria, especially within the judiciary, is thoughtfully examined. Within this Adegboruwa, poses unsettling questions regarding the ethical standards within the Nigerian judiciary, hinting at the presence of unethical and corrupt practices that pose a significant threat to the pillars of justice because they are a major challenge to the integrity of the judicial system.

Corruption within the judiciary is not a victimless transgression. Its consequences reverberate far and wide: justice remains elusive for the marginalized, trust in the system crumbles, and an insidious culture of impunity takes root. Those with influence wield it like a weapon, leaving the powerless to endure the injustices of a system tainted by ethical transgressions.

Adegboruwa expresses concern that many Nigerians believe that justice can be bought, and that politicians and wealthy persons may have undue influence over judges. This perception erodes trust in the judicial system.

“Transactional Justice” is the term forged by Adegboruwa to encapsulate a dire scenario where the scales of justice are tipped not by the merits of a case, but by forces that operate in the shadows. It entails the distortion of legal processes for personal gain, often through bribery, manipulation, or undue influence. This sinister underbelly doesn’t merely corrode the foundations of our judicial system; it poses an existential threat to the very principles of justice and the rule of law.

This immoral behavior not only destroys the faith of the general public in the judicial system, but it also endangers the values of justice and the legal system as a whole.

As corruption seeps in, trust in the legal system crumbles. When justice seems to be a commodity up for sale, when the scales appear rigged in favor of the affluent and influential, faith in the rule of law erodes. This erosion of trust creates ripples that sow discord and despair throughout society.

Corruption within the judiciary is a gatekeeper that denies equal access to justice to those unable to grease its palms or secure influential legal representation. It mocks the very essence of equal protection under the law, leaving the vulnerable to languish while the powerful escape accountability. The corrosive impact is pervasive – a culture of impunity that jeopardizes the very core of our democracy.

Transactional justice involves the subversion of legal processes for personal gain, often through bribery, manipulation, or influence. This unethical practice not only undermines the integrity of the judiciary but also threatens the principles of justice and rule of law.

Adegboruwa’s exposé doesn’t stop at revealing the darkness; it goes further by illuminating the actors perpetuating this corruption. Certain lawyers function as intermediaries, extending financial incentives to judicial officers, not just in election petition cases and other court related cases. The rot runs deep and festers, contaminating the heart of our legal system.

When corrupt practices are widespread, those with money and influence may escape accountability for their actions, while individuals without such resources are more likely to face legal consequences. This can foster a culture of impunity.

Corruption in the judiciary can exacerbate social and economic inequality. It can reinforce existing disparities by favoring those who have resources to navigate a corrupt system.

A society with a corrupt judiciary faces a host of negative consequences, including a weakened economy, reduced foreign investment, and diminished prospects for social progress.

Adegboruwa points out instances where lawyers appear to have cases assigned to specific judges, possibly through collusion with court officials. This raises concerns about bias and unfair treatment in the judicial process.

He mentions the presence of professional litigants who monitor cases and may exert undue pressure on judges, often with connections to court officials.

Adegboruwa also raises concerns about inconsistencies in legal decisions, even at the Supreme Court level, which can be attributed to either human error or the influence of Transactional Justice.

Considering these grave issues, Adegboruwa calls upon the Nigerian Bar Association and the judiciary to urgently address this problem, as it poses a significant threat to the credibility of the justice system and may lead to a breakdown of the rule of law.

In all Adegboruwa raises concerns about lawyers who facilitate corruption within the judicial system and how this impacts the pursuit of justice. He basically answered the questions in different soft way but from the point of criminological and psychological views I will expand the questions to whether individuals involved in corruption, particularly those who undermine the justice system, should face more potent consequences.

In light of the dark and persistent issues raised by Adegboruwa, it is incumbent upon us to consider every available means to combat corruption and restore integrity to our judicial system.

I advocate for the public exposure of those authentically known to practice transactional justice on billboards, signposts, and highways. The concept of publicly exposing those incontrovertibly engaged in Transactional Justice on leaflets, posters, signboards, prints  and highways is a remarkably audacious and innovative vision for a country attempting to fully integrate into the family of democracies.

If everything else fails, if corruption continues to corrode the foundations of justice, could the specter of the death penalty be our last resort? If, after exhausting all other avenues, nothing seems to deter these managers and messengers of transactional justice, the imposition of the death penalty may be the only effective deterrent against those who would undermine the very foundations of justice.

While I believe that the death sentence could send a strong message against corruption, others argue that a multidimensional approach focusing on prevention, transparency, accountability, and institutional transformation provides a more thorough and final solution.  Such reforms include strengthening anti-corruption institutions, implementing whistleblower protection, boosting transparency in public procurement, and strengthening accountability systems, among others. Despite everything we’ve done, corruption has only gotten worse.

China is one of the few countries that still uses the death sentence for a variety of offenses, including nonviolent crimes such as corruption. According to the Chinese government, the death penalty serves as a deterrent to other crimes, including corruption, thus let the death penalty become the final option in Nigeria.

I am aware that Nigeria, like many other nations, is a member to international human rights treaties that discourage or prohibit the use of the death penalty for non-violent offenses; but, these transactional justice practitioners who are enmeshed in the poison of corruption are democratic robbers.

I know there are still some good and God-fearing legislators and judges out there in Nigeria, and they should make this happen so that these evildoers can face the death penalty.

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