Justice, only way out of Nigeria’s problem, says Akinseye-George at BSN annual lecture Founder’s Day
‘Injustice’, as opposed to generally believed ‘corruption’, has been described as the major problem facing the country, a fact that is known to everybody, including leaders that are deliberately shying away from this reality.
The Guest Speaker, Professor of law, Yemi Akinseye-George (SAN) stated this at the Bible Society of Nigeria 13th Founder’s Day annual lecture and awards ceremony with the theme: “Justice: Catalyst for a progressive Nigeria”, which took place at Nigeria Institute of International Affairs, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The don said the biblical concept of justice is the foundation of the system of justice in the legal system of Nigeria which include: learn to do right, seek justice, defend the oppressed, plead the cause for the fatherless and widows, among others.
He noted that Nigeria as a nation has regrettably distanced herself from this reality which has culminated into the mess the country finds herself today.
He alluded that the righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked has no such concern, adding that wicked leaders have no concern for justice for the poor but are only concerned about themselves.
He lamented the billions of naira the government budgets for arms and ammunitions while overlooking the area of injustice.
“Under the 2021 budget, the Federal Government budgeted N840 billion for the Ministry of Defence and the budget for defence has been increasing.
“In a budget of few surprises tagged a ‘budget of economic recovery and resilience’, the Ministry of Defence more than four years in a row has taken the lead with a proposed allocation of N840 billion while Police and Education got N441.39 billion and N554.10 billion respectively.
“On the other hand, the budget for justice, health and other social services have been declining,” he said.
He asserted that no matter how much money is allocated to buy arms, there can be no real peace or security without justice, because justice is the mother of peace which Nigerians are yearning for.
He said injustice has affected life span in Nigeria which is the lowest in Africa and the world where an average life span of men has been reduced to 59 while that of women, 63.
He also disclosed a survey conducted by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) that indicated that the number of children out of School in Nigeria has risen from 10.5 million to 13.2 million, the highest in the world.
He also revealed that the National Bureau of statistics released the 2019 poverty and inequality in Nigeria which highlights that 40 percent of the total population which is about 83 million Nigerians live below the poverty line and yet about five Nigerians so called wealthy people stack the nation’s money in foreign banks, enough to eradicate poverty completely in Nigeria, a kind of selfish attitude that ranks with height of injustice.
He said that while justice does not mean equality of all persons, it means treating every man and woman as well as the children equally.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwoolu, who was represented at the event by the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs. Abolaji Dada, said no society can achieve it’s full potential and the desired level of development without putting in place and nurturing a system that guarantees justice and fairness to all irrespective of social and economic status.
“This is not only for our country but all nations that desire to be counted among seven and civilised societies as lack of social justice breeds discontent, distrust, frustration which may lead to instability, chaos and eventual breakdown of law and order,” he said.
The Chairman of the occasion, Rev. Sam Aboyeji, described the theme as very apt which any nation that seeks progress should consider and act swiftly upon.
Awards were given to former BSN President, Dr. Aaron Nuhu, General Overseer, Foursquare Gospel Church in Nigeria, Rev. Sam Aboyeji, Mr. Tom Otuaga, Barr. Dele Adesina and Deacon Tom Ogboi.