One patriotic citizen risked his life to track, excavate and expose
the stenchy corpse of corruption in Nigeria’s criminal justice system
but no sooner than his findings made it into the precinct of the media
did reports claim that the cabals involved in the criminal justice
system went hunting and planning to apprehend this journalist who
exposed corruption. The actions of the authorities calcify my belief
that perhaps even the individuals responsible for administering
justice need to be brought to justice.
Fisayo Soyombo is one man that has evinced his love and admiration for
his fatherland by placing his freedom on a thin line so as to combat
corruption. The power of one man intoxicated with the determination to
incite a positive change cannot be overemphasized. Fredrick Nwabufo,
SaharaReporters opinion writer, scribbling along this line, put
succinctly in one of his articles: “One man can induce rippling change
in a system. One man can stop illegal detention, arrests, and govern
the impulse to clamp down on free speech and citizens’ rights. One man
can rebuild relationships and cause harmony to exist among disparate
One man has chosen to reveal the hidden acts of darkness and that one
man is on the run for his dear life. What then is the incentive for
speaking the truth is a country that supposedly claims to ensure and
guarantee freedom of speech?
It becomes mind-boggling and very worrying that instead of
investigating the police over alleged abuse of their prosecutorial
powers, the authorities irked by the report of this passionate
journalist went haywire and is keen on throwing this truth talker into
the gulag. What shall we say is Fisayo’s crime? Exposing corruption?
Isn’t it stipulated in the national anthem that every Nigerian should
endeavour and strive to “serve Nigeria with all my heart “? Shouldn’t
this journalist be venerated and appreciated for choosing to go extra
miles in performing a great service to the nation?
The Nigerian police cannot deny that its officers have time without
number carried out extrajudicial killings, extortion, and have
harassed innocent Nigerians. Reports have shown that some bad eggs in
the system are prone to be trigger-happy when confronted by Nigerians
who would not agree to pay bribes as low as N50. The Nigerian
correction service cannot refute the fact that some of its officials
are the ones who need to be corrected judging by the sort of
atrocities they exude. Everyone knows the system is rotten but to what
The young journalist, charged and thrown into prison for a laughable
offense was not only able to show Nigerians how policemen pervert the
course of justice in their unquenchable thirst for ill-gotten money
but also revealed the psychological, emotional trauma and horror
prisoners pass through, the rot in the system, the death of Justice in
Nigeria. We wouldn’t have known that as long as a prisoner is donned
with wealth he can live large even within prison walls. We wouldn’t
have known that funds meant for the correction service were diverted
to be used by private individuals for incorrect use.
Well-meaning Nigerians were disappointed when news wafted round that
the brave journalist spoke from his forced self-imposed exile that
concerning hiding. Nigerians heaved a sigh of relief that at last
something positive will be done regarding the delaying justice system
when the investigations were published online but their heavings
metamorphosed into sighings when the man hunting corruption became the
Fisayo Soyombo who placed himself in dangerous circumstances should
not be in a self-imposed exile for exposing the truth. In other
climes, the authorities do not turn a blind eye to the truth. In
Ghana, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, a high profile undercover journalist
waddled his feet in the same matter. His investigations led to the
arrest and detainment of several judges who were caught on camera
selling justice for some few tokens, for sex, for kinds, for gifts as
weird as goats. If Nigeria is truly the giant of Africa, then she
should be ready to do more than what the government of Ghana has done.
Young Nigerians following the trend on social media must be
disappointed by now. They must have gleaned the fact that fighting
corruption in their fatherland only leads to more trouble. They must
have gleaned that it is OK to bury corruption beneath the ground of
silence, it is safer to see corruption and turn a blind eye, it is
normal for the correction service to be in a serious need of correct
practices. What a brand of future generation Nigeria is breeding!
There is no single document that declares that journalists should risk
their lives for the truth. If one man, one journalist, one Nigerian,
agrees to uphold the sanctity of his country then I see no reason why
that man should scamper into oblivion after speaking up.
The president, Lagos State chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists
(NUJ), Dr. Rotimi Akinreti’s statement on the issue is worth telling.
“Why would they want to arrest him? Let them look into the system and
clean it up. It portrays Nigeria in a bad image. The only way is to
ensure that we don’t have a repeat of horrendous and disgraceful
service in the police and prisons. People have been alleging these
ills, and Soyombo took a step further by doing a good report. The
inspector-general should commend him for doing a good job,” he said.
The Nigerian authorities should hunt corruption and not the one who exposes it.
Promise Eze, a campus journalist, writes at [email protected] and be
reached through 08103911686