17th August, 2011
The President of Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Isa Salami who is at the centre of a raging controversy over allegations of unethical conduct and corruption he levelled against the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Katsina- Alu, will on Thursday know his fate as the National Judicial Council meets to take decision over Salami’s refusal to apologise to the CJN after it found that Salami lied against the CJN when he alleged that Katsina-Alu asked him to compromise justice in the Sokoto election appeal.
This indication emerged following the Council’s denial that it refused to collect the processes in the suit filed by Salami because it was not signed by a registrar of the court that issued the process. A statement signed by the NJCâ€™s Director of Administration, Mr Eugene Odukwu said it was mandatory for the council to obey and comply with all court orders and processes.
According to him,â€œIn the matter under reference, a Writ of Summons purportedly issued by the Federal High Court, Abuja Division was brought to the Council by two Lawyers namely; Messrs Oluwaseun Ben and Joshua U. Oghene on 15th August, 2011 from Chief Akinlolu Olujinmi, SAN Chambers
â€œThe Writ was taken to the Office of the Assistant Chief Confidential Secretary of the Council by the two Lawyers. After perusing through the Writ, the Assistant Chief Confidential Secretary discovered that it was undated and unsigned.
Consequently, the Assistant Chief Confidential Secretary sought for clearance on the matter from the Secretary of the Council. The Secretary of the Council directed the Assistant Chief Confidential Secretary to meet the undersigned to re confirm if the Writ was actually undated and unsigned. After meticulously going through the purported Writ, I confirmed that it was unsigned and undated. Based on my findings, in the presence of the Assistant Chief Confidential Secretary, I told one of the Lawyers, Oluwaseun Ben that the Writ was actually undated and unsigned and could not be accepted. In the presence of the Assistant Chief Confidential Secretary, the Lawyer admitted that the non-signing and dating of the Writ was a mistake from the Court Registry of the Federal High Court, Abuja Division. The council however said that immediately a signed copy was brought, it promptly accepted it”
It is however not clear who would preside at the session as the Deputy Chairman of Council, Justice Dahiru Musdapher, had travelled to Saudi Arabia for religious purpose.
Although, Katsina-Alu is the chairman of the council, the principles of natural justice illustrates by the maxim that no one should be a judge in his own case will preclude him from presiding at the meeting.
By Nnamdi Felix / Abuja