7th September, 2012
Nnamdi Felix / Abuja
The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Friday struck out an application filed by its ousted President, Justice Ayo Salami where he sought the court’s clarification on whether it is the National Industrial Court or the regular court that has jurisdiction to entertain his suit challenging his suspension from office by President Goodluck Jonathan on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council, NJC.
The appellate court led by Justice Hussein Muktar maintained that Justice Salami failed to transmit the records of the proceedings in the matter to it to enable it hear and determine his application. The court held that in the absence of the records of proceedings in the matter at the Federal High Court where the matter is currently being heard, that there is no valid application before it to be heard.
Consequently, the court struck out Justice Salami’s application but directed that he can file in the application again and transmit the required records of proceedings if he still wants the court to hear and determine the application.
The NJC which recommended that Salami be removed from office had also recommended that he be returned following submissions of well meaning Nigerians, including the Justice Lawal Uwais led Stakeholders Judicial Reform Committee which indicted the National Judicial Council of the Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu era of high handedness and abuse of procedure in its recommendation for the suspension of the Justice Salami
The Committee, in its recommendations which was submitted to the immediate past Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Dahiru Musdapher, asked for the recall of Justice Salami from suspension.
However, the Federal Government had been dragging its feet over Salami’s reinstatement.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke (SAN), who recently disclosed the mind set of government over the Salami issue, stated that the Federal Government will not act on the National Judicial Council’s recommendation to reinstate Salami because the matter is subjudice.
According to the Minister, “No responsible government will act on such recommendation in the present circumstances of the case. The matter
is subjudice. As soon as the judiciary put it’s house in order the Federal Government will make its position on the matter known”.
The Minister disclosed this while fielding questions at the last Ministerial press
briefing which held in Abuja and stated that a lot of misperception has trailed the NJC’s recommendation.
He recalled that on August, 2011 that the National Judicial Council forwarded a letter to President Goodluck Jonathan suspending Justice Ayo Salami and recommended his retirement.
“The Federal Government immediately approved his suspension and forwarded the aspect on his retirement to the National Assembly and put on hold the issue of retirement. The government appointed an Acting President of the Court of Appeal. On 11th May, 2012 NJC recalled the suspended President of the Court of Appeal and
forwarded its recommendation to the President. There are several litigation by way of processes served on the President on the issue and until they are
resolved, he cannot act”.