The beauty pageant at Kirikikiri is insensitive – By Femi Falana SAN

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*Photo: Falana *

Miss Chindima Ojukwu is currently standing trial at the Lagos High Court for the alleged murder of the Chief Executive Officer of Super TV, Usifo Ataga June 21, 2021. It was reported yesterday that she won a beauty contest organised by the Authorities of the Kirikikiri Correctional Centre in Lagos State. 

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This is the height of insensitivity on the part of the Authorities of the Kirikikiri Correctional Centre.

There is no provision in the Nigerian Correctional Services Act that provides for beauty pageant in any Correctional Centre in Nigeria. 

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No doubt, Chindima  is presumed innocent until the contrary is proved by the State.  But in celebrating the beauty queen the feelings of the family members of the deceased ought to have been considered by the prison authorities. In Josiah v. State [1985]1 NWLR (Pt. 1) 125, Oputa JSC held that justice is not a one way but a three way traffic in a murder case. According to his Lordship:

“And justice is not a one-way traffic. It is not justice for the appellant only. Justice is not even only a two-way traffic. It is really a three-way traffic – justice for the appellant accused of a heinous crime of murder; justice for the victim, the murdered man, the deceased, ‘whose blood is crying to heaven for vengeance’ and finally justice for the society at large – the society whose social norms and values had been desecrated and broken by the criminal act complained of.

” It is certainly in the interest of justice that the truth of this case should be known and that if the appellant is properly tried and found guilty, that he should be punished. That justice which seeks only to protect the appellant (accused) will not be even handed justice. It will not even be justice tempered with mercy.”

The State that is prosecuting  Chindima for the grave offence of murder cannot turn round to lionise her under the pretext of celebrating her for winning a beauty pageant.

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