“GO TO COURT” seems to have become the new mocking refrain for the brazen and foolhardy.
In Nigeria, sacred institutions are treated with utmost contempt. Sadly, the courts are not exempt from this attitudinal dissonance.
Check out the many instances when fundamental rights and inalienable freedoms of the citizens are trampled upon or when a highly placed person is oppressing the poor or less privileged. The most severe complaint for redress in this respect will be met with the insulting or condescending remark- “GO TO COURT!”
“GO TO COURT” has become a taunt statement or jeer phrase which the unscrupulous and disorderly hurl at law abiding citizens.
Ordinarily, an offender should be afraid of the courts or being brought before the law for countless reasons.
The Court as a paragon of justice does not spare those who do not respect the rights of others. The court is the last hope of the common and uncommon man. The Courts exist to punish law breakers and not as a sanctuary for the lawless.
How come the man who steals the mandate of another is quick to shout or cajole the winner to “GO TO COURT”? Ditto for the thug or VIP (read as “Vagabon in Power”) who is openly destroying ballot papers or physically preventing eligible voters from casting their votes.
The biased umpire who is announcing fake results in an election is the first to shout “GO TO COURT”.
Why is the man who has wrested the land of another the first to confidently shout “GO TO COURT”? Examples are endless.
On national TV, the man who is spewing vile, toxic, xenophobic and hate comments contrary to the law is not blinking. When challenged, his wry or sardonic response will be “GO TO COURT”!
Why the sudden bold and audacious embrace of the court system by criminals and miserable offenders?
This is a matter of deep jurisprudential concern to slavish adherents of the law. When did “GO TO COURT” become a child’s play or an exercise in futility?
Men and women of enlightened consciences know that a common criminal will not be quick to ask another to go to court if the offender was made to know with what happened to previous offenders to know that the court is never used as an engine of fraud or an avenue for oppression or perpetuating injustice.
Sadly, when a thief cajoles the deprived to go to court over stolen items in the thief’s possession, there is a likelihood that the thief is cahoots with the arbiters.
Needless to overemphasise that the wrong use of “GO TO COURT” as an insulting phrase will stop when wrongdoers are adequately punished in court.
When a usurper is divested of his stolen mandate in court, he alongside his co-travellers will learn to respect and or fear the court of justice.
It is indubitably correct that the misplaced and mischievous confidence of the law breaker in shouting “GO TO COURT” will definitely boomerang with a bold and courageous judiciary.
Our Courts need to teach useful lessons and set examples for all and sundry to know once more that “GO TO COURT” is not a phrase to be used lightly.
Law breakers cannot stay in the wrong and shamelessly goad law abiding citizens to “GO TO COURT” in the full knowledge that he who comes to equity must come with clean hands.
The wheel of justice may grind slowly but it must surely come to a halt.
Fīat jūstitia ruat cælum [“Let justice be done though the heavens fall]. Justice will be done in our courts even as heavens will not fall.
The law is an ass but only fools ride it. A word is usually not enough for the unwise.
A new normal is possible!
Prof Obiaraeri, N.O.