Nigeria at 59: The many faces of ‘JUSTICE’

Nigeria at 59: The many faces of ‘JUSTICE’

On the eve of our 59th Independence Anniversary, the President symbolically furthered the cause of justice when he commissioned an edifice that would house an Industrial Court. Excerpts of his short speech included the need for equal access to justice for all Nigerians. But structures alone don’t make for justice or even access to it because elsewhere on that same day, justice was being denied a young Nigerian. Omoyele Sowore, a child born when Nigeria had attained its independence, a child who probably grew to learn about the heroic labours of his forefathers, a child who might have learnt the anthem of a nation bound in freedom, peace and unity, was on the eve of Independence, denied his freedom again, and would celebratethe 59th anniversary of his country in detention.This was in spite of a court of law, similar in some respects to the one the President just commissioned, granting him freedom. There would be no clicking of glasses for him and indeed, any member of his family on the day. His life as he knows it is on hold and his freedom is not subject to law, but to the judgement—or whims—of the security forces which have enforced his captivity.

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