N23.3bn Pension fund fraud: Protesters storm Nigeria Ministry of Justice over Corruption (PHOTOS & VIDEO)
The sentence is as confusing as it is shocking: 750,000 Naira fine for misappropriating 23 billion Naira, or a $5000 fine for a missing $1.5m.
“No intimidation will stop us!” stated Dino Melaye, the protest’s leader, as armed police looked on at the crowd.
Two days before the protest, Justice Abubakar Talba sentenced Yakubu Yusuf to two years imprisonment with an option of 750000 Naira fine after he pleaded guilty to the three count charges of misappropriation of the police pension.
The protesters were from the Anti-Corruption Network and members of the National Association of Nigerian Students who presented a letter to the a closed Ministry.
“This is an attempt… to make our voices heard,” explains Conraad Utaan, who described himself as an anti-corruption crusader. “To allow those who are in the corridors of the judiciary to know that there is something fundamentally wrong with the judicial system.”
The protesters wore black shirts, rode motorbikes and carried placards stating “Corruption in our Courts – CJN act now!” and “Judiciary is the hope of the highest bidder.”
Nigeria is regularly ranked as one of the most corrupt countries in the world by Transparency International – and to many, the Nigerian Ministry of Justice is no exception to the problem. In Transparency International’s 2012 Corruption Perception Index, Nigeria was ranked 139th out of 176 countries, but the protesters vowed to continue the fight:
“Our protest will continue on,” says Conraad Utaan. “We are prepared to push to the last limit!”