Our 1979 and 1999 Constitutions were handed to us by outgoing Military governments, so they hardly contain the true wishes of our people.
I will actively pursue a complete overhaul of our constitutional law. Provisions which only stall our progress will be repealed. Those which only serve to protect the interests of the few who have lead us since independence will be repealed. And those which were genuine efforts to try and find ways to help us live together as a united country with patriotic citizens will be retained, and expanded where necessary.
Criminal Justice Reforms
I am committed to reforming our criminal justice system and ending incarceration without lawful trials in Nigeria. I will aim to employ one criminal code for the entire country so that anything which is a crime in the North, is also a crime in the South and vice-versa.
Nigeria is one country where all its citizens are equal. What constitutes a crime in the North should constitute a crime in the South to enable uniform application and just implementation of our criminal code, especially in cross-regional crimes.
I believe that the time to reform and update our criminal laws is now. As society changes, so also it’s values and pattern of criminal activities. Crimes which were alien to our culture now exist among us, however our criminal laws have remained stagnant. For example, crimes which involve high end technology are not adequately dealt with under any of our criminal law codes.
My administration will push for new and updated laws in our criminal justice system. We will restructure and improve our prisons and police detention centres. We will rebuild trust between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve.
We will invest in training for police officers, and the creation of national guidelines for the appropriate use of force. We will work with the leadership of our police force to stop the use of arbitrary force on our people. We will encourage better police-community relations, require the use of vehicle and body cameras, and stop the arbitrary arrest and detention of our citizenry by the police and other law enforcement agencies.
We will require our courts to speedily investigate all questionable or suspicious police-involved shootings, and we will support communities who help make those investigations and prosecutions more transparent. We will support all the States of the Federation in providing funds for a system of public defence for the indigent accused persons or suspects. We will introduce a civil asset forfeiture system to enable suspects under financial crimes forfeit assets to our national coffers in return for less severe punishment for the crimes they were accused or charged.
Application of Criminal Sharia Law
The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria specifically forbids any of our governments from adopting any religion as the religion of any States in Nigeria, or the religion of our country. We have however seen States in Nigeria declare themselves Sharia States – this is unconstitutional. My administration will therefore work towards the implementation of our constitution in every parts of our country.
I believe that our Penal Code which is applicable in the north takes cognisance of criminal sharia law. Furthermore, personal sharia law is as much a part of our constitutionally enshrined justice system as our personal customary laws. Personal sharia law also applies generally to Muslims in Nigeria irrespective of their location.
Therefore, unless and until a law is enacted in accordance with the provisions of our Constitution to inculcate criminal sharia law into the criminal justice system in Nigeria, criminal sharia law should not be used on our citizens. Criminal sharia law is simply unknown to our legal justice system.
Introduction of CCTV
I propose the use of extensive intelligence and CCTV cameras to monitor criminal activities in Nigeria. Aside from helping in the fight against corruption, terrorism, violent crimes etc., it will also provide investment opportunities for several manufacturing businesses. The wide use of CCTV in Nigeria will help us fight crime, thus keep us safe. However, it will also increase national revenue, and create mass employment.
Quick Intervention of Security Agents
Jungle Justice is common among our communities. We take laws into our hands when we think a person has committed a grievous offence. We mob, we lynch, we maim to death. This is wrong and severely punishable under our extant laws.
My administration will work with our communities to imbibe the culture of calling for the intervention of our law enforcement agencies. We will use effective media and internet campaigns to broaden the scope of our people. To teach them that lynching a person for any offence no matter it’s gravity, is a crime for which the death penalty may be imposed. We believe that a deeper understanding of the consequences of taking the laws into our own hands will deter our people from resorting to jungle justice when provoked.