After I practically revived myself from the inexplicable shock my body system went into after reading Justice Marcel Awokulehin’s (The Judge who exonerated James Ibori of corruption charges in Nigeria) comment on his clear conscience despite the conviction of James Ibori in the UK, I decided to write something about conscience.
The Judge was quoted as saying, recently, that his conscience is clear in the brazen manner he acquitted a known criminal – James Ibori – of 170 count charges in Asaba. Well, I believe that even animals do have conscience, and I will state my reasons for that clearly in the next paragraph.
Some weeks ago, I was watching a documentary on National Geographic Wild Channel titled “Raised by a Lioness”. Scientists tell us that female buffaloes mostly give birth to their off-springs at a particular time of the year which gives lions the opportunity to attack at will since the herd will be more vulnerable with the new population of weak and inexperienced calves.
The commentary was centered around a herd of buffaloes. Immediately after they gave birth to their babies, the herd was attacked by a pack of hungry lions. As the lions charged at the herd, there came pandemonium as buffaloes deserted their young ones and scampered for safety, making it easy for the lions to pick their meal of buffalo calves. I watched with pity as the young buffaloes were devoured easily by the seemingly heartless lions.
After the lions had a feel of their preys, they left the remnants to the hyenas and vultures but I couldn’t help but notice a particular lioness which seemed uninterested in the onslaught. Though, she picked a prey but instead of devouring it, she stood in defence of her prey and protected it from other lions. When it was time for the pack to move, she gently picked up the calf in her jaws and whisked it away unhurt. Now that’s incredible!
She took the calf back to the pride and isolated herself from the other lions. Although she couldn’t breastfeed the calf, she kept it safe from other prowling mates and harsh weather. She snuggled with the calf and took it out in the sun for walks. After 3 days of nurturing the calf, the lioness took it back to where the attack took place and from the thick of a bush she watched as the calf searched for its mother amongst the herd. After a few minutes, the calf found its hopeless mother by the unique sound they made at each other and once again they were re-united for good.
It was until the end of this documentary that I discovered my own jaws had been open in amazement all this while at what my eyes just beheld. Even the narrator and camera crew were as shocked as I was, which brought about my conclusion that for that lioness to have behaved in such an unexpected way, she does own a conscience. She must have felt sorry for the poor baby buffalo; she must have realised that the calf is no match for her strength, ferocity or speed. I bet she must have preferred to attack an animal that matched her physical abilities at least instead of a helpless calf.
I am forced to point out to Justice Awokulehin that he should pick a lesson from the lioness. The unfortunate judge needs a training in conscience. Apart from being an officer of the law, what kind of man commits such national blunder and goes to bed without any sense of guilt? That allusion to a clear conscience is a pointer to Awokulehin’s height of impunity.
Discharging and acquitting such a high profile criminal like Ibori is a crime against humanity. I don’t know anything else that could be said of the life and times of Ibori other criminality and power. He started as a petty thief in the UK and expanded his trade to a cathedral status. I also know any judge with a conscience wouldn’t need too much debate for persuasion. Awokulehin has none.
He has left millions of Nigerians wondering what exactly has gone wrong with the Judiciary. The Judicial system is meant to be the final hope of the people but the reverse is the case today. Nigerian judges compromise the law to serve the purpose of criminals in government. Corruption in the judiciary is perhaps Nigeria’s worst challenge. How did we get here?
We also need to ascertain the humanness of Justice Awokulehin’s humanity. Ibori’s conviction in UK after Awokulehin’s bill of clean health to the cheap thief is enough reason for the corrupt judge – or any human for that matter – to hide his face in shame forever. His action therefore makes one want to think aloud. Is he an animal? But isn’t calling him animal a defamation of the name “animal”? Within me, something tells me he might be worse. After all, animals too have conscience.
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