Nigeria: Cooking Up An Answer

Justice Ayo Salami

Retired Justice Ayo Salami

 Katsina-Alu wanted Salami’s blood at all costs and he got his executioners in a non-quorum NJC


TheNEWS learnt that the session in which the decision was taken to suspend Salami took place after the first session whose sole agenda was to recommend the successor of Katsina Alu who is due for retirement from the bench to President Jonathan. This magazine gathered that the issue of the ultimatum issued to the PCA to apologise to the NJC and the CJN was not on the agenda of the meeting. It was learnt that immediately after the issue of the new CJN was sorted out, Katsina Alu who presided over the session departed since he was an actor in the issue to be discussed.

Other members of NJC who were not Judges were also left out as confirmed by Olisa Agbakoba, a former President of Nigeria Bar Association who was also part of the first session, which lasted just about five minutes. But about seven of the 24 members of NJC immediately reconvened with the sole purpose of meting out punishment to Salami over allegations that he refused to abide by the directive of the NJC to tender apologies to it and the CJN. With Justice Dahiru Musdapher, Deputy Chairman, NJC not available, Justice M.A Bello, President of the Customary Court of Appeal presided over the session as the acting Chairman of the NJC. Sources told this magazine last week that Bello is not only not well versed in constitutional law, the session he presided over cannot be said to have formed a quorum as it was made up of fewer than one third of members of the Judicial Council. It was gathered that rather than perjury, the main accusation against Salami at the meeting was that he ventilated his grievances and accusations against the CJN in the media.

The Chief Judges of Bayelsa, Benue and Anambra States were said to have particularly championed the suspension of the PCA at the meeting. Even then, it was gathered that some of the members had argued that the NJC has no power to suspend Salami, apart from the fact that there is a pending case against the Council filed by the PCA. But when the decision was put to vote, four members, voted in favour of the decision to suspend the PCA and Bello insisted that the majority had carried the vote to the chagrin of many members of the bench and the bar.

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