A Russian-trained medical doctor and second republic member of the House of Representatives, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, has warned the Federal Government against adopting plea bargain to resolve high profile corruption cases.
Mohammed gave the warning on Monday.
With specific reference to the ongoing $2.1 billion arms deal trial involving the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.) and others, the former federal lawmaker argued that entertaining plea bargain would send wrong signals about Nigeria’s anti-corruption war.
Mohammed, who is the Convener of Coalition of Northern Politicians, Academics, Professionals and Businessmen, said the Dasuki case presents Nigeria a unique opportunity to show the world how serious it was about fighting corruption in high and low places.
According to him, the nation owes it a duty to change the reality, not just the perception about corruption in the country.
He stated, “The idea that we should now enter into plea bargain with some people for violating the law while others, who are assumed to be not important persons, are sent to prison to languish for a very long time and some to even die there, is in my view patently unjust.
“And I believe it will be wrong morally, it will be wrong procedurally, it will be wrong against our own tradition.
“Plea bargain is not part of the proper British traditional system of criminal justice administration, it is an American system.
“America is a capitalist class system, where justice for the rich is different from justice for the poor. I have not been given any reason to convince me or any sane Nigerian that plea bargain is the way to go”.
The doctor-turned-politician added that the question to ask was whether the anti-graft war was merely to recover money or to sanitise society from a cancer, which if not properly handled, could destroy the society.
“My view is that the war against corruption is not just to recover money”, he said “because whatever money you recover, will also be squandered or lost to succeeding generations of corrupt public officers”.
“As much as possible, we should use the ongoing cases in court to send a very powerful message that there is a new dispensation in town and in the country. Those who believe they can get away with murder must be shown that there is a change in administration and the attitude in government, so that those coming after them will not carry on with the kind of impunity we witnessed during the last administration”, Mohammed stated.