EVEN THOUGH man is said to be rational, he does not necessarily, or habitually, do what is right. He claims to be civilized or refined, yet, his violent actions define him as a savage. His perversion, therefore, needed to be checked. This is the origin of all laws - theological or secular. The aim is for peace to reign, so that man and his activities may thrive. But, the laws have not been able to totally blunt man's very sharp proclivities for evil and violence, except to a very little extent.
Nigeria is being buffeted on all fronts by vicious acts from criminal citizens. The result is the comatose position, and the odium, that we occupy in the political, economic, moral and social ranking of countries today. Nigeria stands out in corruption, scams, diseases, poverty, illiteracy, divisive politics, vanity through ostentatious displays of affluence, religious fanaticism and many more. Indeed, we have no standard in, or for, anything: anything goes; survival of the fittest.
No country can make progress in the smoke and dust of moral and social chaos. This is why, in some countries, laws do not sleep, just like the law enforcers and the dispensers of Justice. There are no sacred cows, or sweeping under the carpets issues detrimental to the common good, whoever the perpetrator(s). Nigeria reverses all this. Killers and rapists go scot-free. Armed robbers can bribe their way out of cells and justice. Kidnappers are brazen.
Again, with what effect? The country is crippled. It is only trying to limp. Juxtaposedly, China, formerly one of the world's most corrupt countries, has since become the second largest economy. This was possible by a devastating intolerance and punishment of the corrupt who have been convicted by the courts. For hoarding a few litres of petrol, a Chinese was executed. Two former Mayors were similarly executed for corruption few years ago.
Singapore, Malaysia, and other 'Asian Tigers' have a similar abhorrence for corruption. The United States of America, Great Britain, France, Italy and many Western powers also do not make a pet of the monster called corruption, because it destroys, not just individuals, but countries.
Nigeria, like other countries, has laws and law enforcers and the judiciary. But corruption is the Nigerian's identity card - home and abroad.
Nigerians do not dissociate themselves from corrupt people who are wealthy. On the contrary, they sponsor advertorials in newspapers proclaiming their heroes' victimisation through what they call "selective justice", without trying to establish the innocence of the suspect who is being fairly tried in a competent court of law. But, can we go on like this?
This is why, as we have continued to campaign on this editorial page, despite the contrary views of some human rights groups, we again call for the death penalty for those convicted of corruption. We want Section 308 ("immunity clause") of the Constitution abrogated.
The death penalty was meted out to convicted armed robbers and drug peddlers in the 1970s, and 80s by the military governments and the country was saner. It should be re-enacted. If the Republic of Ghana, under John Jerry Rawlings, did not execute, by firing squad, convicted corrupt suspects, including three former heads of state, in one day, then we doubt, very much, that that country and its citizens would enjoy the halcyon days that now define their existence, and pride of place in the world.
updated 12 minutes ago