26th August, 2011
Former Minister of Works, Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe, has faulted the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, and others on their positions over the sack of the former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Isa Salami by President Goodluck Jonathan.
He said that their positions were misleading and deceitful as they had only misapplied the constitution to suit personal and political interests.
National Publicity Secretary of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Lai Mohammed, had in his reaction to the removal of Salami, stated that President Goodluck Jonathan acted in error by sacking Justice Salami on the purported powers granted him in sections 283 and 292 of the 1999 constitution.
But Ogunlewe in a statement, contended that both the National Judicial Council, NJC and President Jonathan acted constitutionally and that their actions were in order.
â€Having followed the various comments on this matter, it comes out clearly that there have been deliberate attempts to interprete the constitution in a way to suit some particular interest and objectives, otherwise both the NJC and President Jonathan acted well in accordance with the clear provisions of the 1999 constitution.
â€œThe politicians have misapplied the relevant sections of the constitution in abridged form to hide the substantive value of section 292 (b) which actually empowered the president on this issue. And it is regrettable that their allies in the so-called civil society are also being dogmatic in their evaluation but which is understandable.
â€œFor the information of members of the public, section 292 is in two parts. Section 292 (1) states: a judicial officer shall not be removed from his office or appointment before his age of retirement except in the following circumstances…by the President acting on an address supported by two thirds majority of the Senate,â€ he stated.
He noted that this portion deals with retirement without misconduct, adding that however, section 292 (b) states, in any case, other than those in paragraph (a) of this subsection applies, by the President or as the case may be, the Governor acting on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council that the judicial officer be so removed for ……or for misconduct or contravention of the Code of Conduct.
He noted further that Justice Isa Salami was suspended in accordance with the provision of section 292(b) above which the president has accordingly acted upon
â€œFor the avoidance of doubt, both the NJC and the President acted in conformity with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution as amended . The issue is that most commentators restrict their comments only to the provisions in section 292(a) without reading the (b) part of it which is more appropriate since the offence committed was a misconduct and against the Code of Conduct for judicial officers as described in section 292 1 (b).