An Ilorin based legal practitioner and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Alhaji Yusuf Olaolu Alli, has advocated death penalty for any Nigerian found guilty of corruption. Speaking with journalists in Ilorin at the weekend, Alli said corruption contributed at least 80 percent to problems in the country, adding that if corruption was reduced by 50 percent, the nation’s level of efficiency would increase.
“When you are proven guilty of corruption charges, the person should just be killed, executed. I’ve been preaching this for more than a decade. I used to call it Chinese treatment because in China if you are convicted for corruption, you are either hanged or shot. I believe this is necessary. People challenged me, they say, ‘oh in other places they are scrapping death sentences’. Yes, those are other places. At least we would have achieved one thing, the person who committed the crime would not be the beneficiary of the gain. He won’t live to enjoy the fruit of his crime. Also, Nigerians will not be committing crimes for others to enjoy. Once they know and see example, they won’t be committing the crime,” he said.
Alli, who argued that the scramble for political position was not about the attractive wages but about illegal acquisition of funds, said, “I think it is unrestrained access to public fund by illegal means that is the attraction and not wages,” adding that Nigerians still believed that the shortest way to wealth was through public office or government.
The senior advocate, who said the fight against corruption should be fought by all Nigerians, added that the nation’s value system would have to change.
“From the mosques and churches, nobody asks a man where he gets his money any more. If a civil servant of Level 16 or even 17 walks into a mosque or a church and says he is donating N2 million, he should be queried. The day Nigerians ask questions about how these people get these things, we won’t have problem. We must re-orientate ourselves. This God of materialism that we worship should be abandoned. We should judge people by the content or quality of their character, not by wealth or money the man has.
“We should learn to ostracise people whose source of wealth we are not sure of just like our forefathers did. We should not be promoting them,” he said. Alli, who also said nothing should distract the Federal Government from implementating the fuel subsidy report of the House of Representatives, added that the Otedolagate or Faruk Lawangate was just one incident out of so many issues.
“We should not make the mistake we made when Obasanjo was to leave, of not allowing the amendment of the Constitution because of what now became third term. There were so many other provisions. Third term was just one item out of hundred. So the Otedola case is just one out of several other findings of the committee. I don’t think this has affected the totality of the integrity of the report. So, we should not put the report under the carpet. I’m sure we will be learning some lessons from there. So I believe the nitty-gritty of the report should be looked into and implemented,” he said.