ACN Slams Salami's Suspension As Hatchet Job


The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has accused the Nigerian Judicial Council (NJC) of carrying out a hatchet job by suspending the President of the Court of Appeal (PCA), Justice Ayo Salami.

In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said having had more time to study the NJC’s decision, it was left with no choice but to conclude that the NJC embarked on a hatchet job.

It said the conclusion was reinforced by three key issues: evasion of service, smuggling of the issue into the agenda of the last NJC meeting and the fact that the council simply overreached itself, and wondered why a body established to be the custodian of the rule of law and judicial tenets would ignore the fundamentals of the rule of law in arriving at the decision to suspend Justice Salami.

ACN described as specious the NJC’s argument that it evaded being served the court summons by Justice Salami’s lawyers because the documents were not signed and dated, saying the NJC should know that it is for the court, not the council, to determine which writ is effective or not.

”To us as a party, the most egregious of the faux pas committed by the NJC in the Justice Salami’s case is the evasion of service. This is the height of lawlessness and judicial rascality. Can an individual do that and escape punishment? Can any member of the NJC pretend not to know that Salami has gone to court over this issue?

”By thumbing its nose at the fundamentals of the rule of law, the NJC has only succeeded in self-destructing. Hitherto, the council was regarded by many as a body comprising men and women of honour and integrity. Now the NJC has demystified itself and, in the process, achieved the collateral damage of dragging its name in the mud,” the party said.

It also said the fact that the issue was not on the agenda of the NJC meeting at which Justice Salami was suspended – only for it to be smuggled into the agenda by those hell bent on getting at Salami – was the clearest indication that the council was carrying out a hatchet job.

ACN said the NJC finally showed its true hand by even acting beyond its powers to suspend Justice Salami.

”NJC, more than any other body, ought to know that in accordance with Section 292 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the President of the Court of Appeal is among the judicial officers who can only be removed by the President, acting on an address supported by two-thirds majority of the Senate.

”Therefore, by suspending Justice Salami and asking him to hand over to the next most senior officer, the NJC has not only violated the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, it acted ultra vires by usurping the functions of the President and the Senate, both at once!” the party said.

It wondered what informed the desperation of the NJC to such an extent that it was ready and willing to trample the rule of law, denigrate the judiciary and turn Nigeria into a laughing stock in the comity of nations.

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