22nd May, 2012
Hopes for early restoration of Justice Isa Ayo Salami, the suspended President of Court to his position was dashed this afternoon as the Federal Government said it will not take any action on the matter until the resolution of all the cases filed in court against his reinstatement.
Mohammed Adoke, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation said this while responding to questions on Tuesday afternoon, at Ministerial Platform, a forum through which members of cabinet of President Goodluck Jonathan have been appraising their achievements in the past three weeks.
Adoke who said there has been a lot of misconception about the issue of reinstatement of Salami confirmed that President Jonathan received a letter from the National Judicial Commission, NJC, last Friday in which the judicial body asked the government to allow the jurist to return to his position as the President of the Court of Appeal.
But he said the President also at the same period received a lot of originating summons challenging the power of the President to reinstate Salami. Though he failed to mention it, Adoke was obviously referring to different suits filed by Noah Ajare and Wilfred Okoli, two Abuja-based lawyers last week in which they challenged the power of President Jonathan to restore Salami to his position in the Appellate Court as recommended by NJC about two weeks ago.
The lawyers filed the cases after the May 11 recommendation of NJC asking President Jonathan to reinstate Salami.
As such, the AGF said Salami’s matter is subjudice and the President will wait for the judiciary, to in his words, “put their house in order”.
Adoke also recalled that the NJC had in its letter which the President acted upon last year to send Salami on suspension recommended the retirement of the jurist. But he said the President, aware of the constitutional limitation on his powers to remove the Appeal Court President as well as the fact that Salami was also in court against NJC, had opted for the suspension option.
He added that the President had also then transmitted the NJC letter to the National Assembly.
Adoke also revealed that the Federal Government was in receipt of the report of the probe into fuel subsidy payments.
He said the report has already been forwarded to EFCC and that anyone found culpable after the investigations will be tried.
The Minister also spoke on calls for the establishment of special courts to try corruption cases. While disagreeing with the calls, the Minister said what is required is the retooling of the anti-corruption agencies in such a way that they will be able to investigate cases properly and get convictions.
“As long as you are unable to generate evidence to prosecute, the courts will have no option than to discharge the accused,” he added.