By Jonathan Ugbal
A Non Governmental Organization, the Coalition for Justice and Good Governance (CJGG) has threatened to petition the Cross River State Government, its judiciary and the state command of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for extorting Cross Riverians up to the tune of NGN1.5 Billion.
The group also threatens to report the Cross River State judiciary to the National judicial Council for investigation if it does not account for the sum it aided in extorting from Cross Riverians since January 2016 in the name of Mobile Courts a letter dated March 20, 2017, signed by the Executive Secretary of the CJGG, Dr. Osim Osim and addressed to the Chief Judge of the state titled; “A Letter Of Protest How Not To Defraud A People Using A Dubious Mobile Traffic Court” and sighted by CrossRiverWatch said.
The letter which copies the AIG Zone 6 of the Nigeria Police Force, the state director of the State Security Services, the Commissioner of Police, the Sector Commander of the FRSC and the commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps in the state, questioned the rationale behind the mobile court system deployed by the FRSC in the state and wondered why the judiciary will allow itself be used as a tool for extortion.
The CJGG alleged that the Mobile Traffic Court (MTC) does not give room for fair hearing and cited instances where offenders were let off the hook after been extorted.
“When has Cross River State Judiciary become a money generating agency?, When has our judiciary become a revenue collecting institution?, When has a bush path amidst a rubber plantation along a busy high way become a temple of justice where justice is served fairly to all manner of people?” the CJGG queried and disclosed it findings.
“Our findings have shown that this daily MTC has become a money – spinning enterprise and racketeering where some commercial drivers park their vehicles 30 meters away from the check point to bribe the corrupt Road safety officials and the collector of the bribe money is the armed Civil Defence personnel and these commercial vehicles with no vehicle particulars and Driving License and whose vehicles are unmotorable are allowed passage and the bribe money is between N500 – N1,000 per – vehicle.
“Sir, since the onset of this daily MTC, CRS Judiciary has garnered about N1.5 Billion at the rate of N30, 000 per vehicle at an average of 50 vehicles carrying out dual MTC at Mary Slessor Roundabout and Pamol section of the Highway 25 times every month in the past 15 months. Using this, your institution has dubiously made the sum of over N1.5 Billion naira this amount you have generated for CRS.”
The CJGG said it was protesting the arraignment of traffic offenders without benefit of any legal representation as a legal entitlement and right, the “dubious court process without any modicum of fair hearing in this 21st century,” the “one- way traffic module of this shambolic mobile court where offenders lack the ability to defend self because the singular motive of the entire sham is not correction and teach offender on better driving skills on the high way but blatant, brazen, shameless extortion and obtaining by trick perpetrated by a syndicate of corruption- laden FRSC officials, armed Civil Defence and fraud- infested CRS judiciary.”
The group also said it was protesting the “Abysmal, woeful failure of (the) Cross River State judiciary to rise up and protect the oppressed and suppressed common man” as it has “enthusiastically” and “shamefully jumped to the arena of fraud, extortion, merchandizing and criminal enterprise to legalize this scam.”
“We protest your failure to show astute headship and selfless leadership by stopping forthwith the fraud, extortion, OBT and scam called Mobile Court but your institution joined the fray to defraud and subjugate the citizens.
“We protest your failure to rise as an arm of government in a democratic governance to assert the independence of judiciary as currently happening in USA where fearless judges in California and Washington at various levels had given judgment overruling the travel ban of the current powerful USA president.
“We protest your failure and blindness to this festering sore that will soon ridicule, humiliate the CRS Judiciary where judicial officers jostle to preside over mobile court thereby turning these magistrates to food is ready judicial officers.”
The group also listed it demands to include; “The Cross River State judiciary must account for theN1.5 Billion cornered from citizens since January 2016 till date” and asked; “Where is the fund?, Which account is the fund lodged?, How much has been lodged so far?”
The CJGG which demanded an “immediate stoppage to this senseless, thoughtless and wicked extortion fraud, OBT in the name of Mobile Traffic Court” said it is “prepared and ready to pursue this matter to a logical finality until justice is done to our demands and we shall not hesitate to give this entrenched fraud the widest publicity ever to inform the world on the fraud, oppression and racketeering that thrive in our state.”
The group demanded a reply within 7 days. A failure will mean the group will “not hesitate to drag the Cross River State judiciary to National Judicial Council and report to (the) Chief Justice of Nigeria for thorough investigation if these questions are not answered.
“And we shall again drag FRSC Cross River State Command, Cross River Government and CRS judiciary to EFCC to explain where the N1.5 Billion is and what it was used for.”
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