Nigeria official calls for special corruption court

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[JURIST] The Nigeria Ebonyi State Commissioner of Justice and the Attorney General, Ben Igwenyi, called Monday for the establishment of a special court to hear corruption cases. He argues that corruption cases in the regular courts take too long to process [Vanguard report] causing people to forget about them, perpetuating the appearance of corruption in the government. He proposed merging the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), which investigates corruption, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) [official websites], which prosecutes financial crimes, to form an anti-corruption court. Corruption remains a problem in Nigeria as the EFCC arrested [JURIST report] outgoing speaker of the House of Representatives Dimeji Bankole in June on allegations of fraud. He is believed to have secured a USD $ 66 million loan on top of his normal salary.

Nigerian elections also have not proceeded without significant problems. Last month, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] announced his intentions to propose a constitutional amendment [JURIST report] that would provide a single, extended tenure for the president of Nigeria and its 36 governors. In March, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] and the Nigerian Bar Association [association website] called for Nigeria’s National Assembly to pass legislation creating a special electoral offenses commission [statement; JURIST report] tasked with investigating and prosecuting election-related abuses, including violence. In 2006, Nigerian Vice-President Atiku Abubakar [official profile; official website] was charged with more than a dozen counts of corruption [JURIST report] in the Code of Conduct Tribunal, a special corruption court that has the power to strip elected officials of immunity. The charges were related to the alleged diversion of $125 million dollars of public money to private interests, as well as allegations of receiving more than $4.6 million dollars in bribes.

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