NJC Hands Justice Salami 7 Days To Publicly Beg Katsina-Alu, Council

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PRESIDENT OF THE COURT OF APPEAL, JUSTICE ISA AYO SALAMI.
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ABUJA, August 10, (THEWILL) – President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Isa Ayo Salami has been given seven days to issue two unreserved apologies to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu and the National Judicial Council (NJC) following his allegation under oath that Katsina-Alu instructed him to direct the Sokoto Gubernatorial Appeal panel to dismiss the appeal by the Democratic Peoples Party of Nigeria (DPP), THEWILL can report.

The order to Salami was issued today by National Judicial Council (NJC) presided by Justice Dahiru Musdapher.

In a statement by the NJC’s Deputy Director of Information, Mr. Soji Oye and obtained by THEWILL, the council discovered that Salami lied in the allegation against Katsina-Alu and described his action as a misconduct and violation of Rule 1(1) of the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officer of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The NJC also ordered that the apologies must be in writing but did not state the penalty if Justice Salami refused to comply.

However, with regards to the charge of misconduct levelled against Justice Salami and the justices that sat on the Osun and Ekiti states governorship election tribunals, the NJC said it found no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the justices and thereafter dismissed the mobile phone call logs tendered as evidence by the petitioners saying they “lacked authenticity and evidential value and therefore no sufficient evidence to establish unethical communication between them.”

The statement reads:
“The National Judicial Council at its 6th Emergency Meeting which was held on 9th August, 2011, deliberated on the two separate Reports of its Committees on the allegations levelled against the Hon. Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu, GCON, the President, Court of Appeal, Hon. Justice Isa Ayo Salami, OFR and some Hon. Justices of the Court of Appeal.

“At the end of deliberations the Council decided as follows:

"That the allegation made by the Hon. President, Court of Appeal, Hon. Justice Isa Ayo Salami, OFR that the Hon. Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu, GCON, instructed him to direct the Sokoto Gubernatorial Appeal to dismiss the appeal by the Democratic Peoples Party of Nigeria is not true.

"The council found that the Hon. Chief Justice of Nigeria acted in good faith and was motivated by the apparent urge to protect the administration of justice and avoid breach of peace when directed that the judgment in the Sokoto Gubernatorial Appeal be ‘put on hold’ pending the investigation of the petitions he had received on the matter.

"Therefore, the Hon. Chief Justice of Nigeria was exonerated of the allegation of interference with Court proceedings in the Sokoto State Gubernatorial Election Appeal.

"That the Hon. Justices of Court of Appeal who served on the Sokoto State Governorship Appeal Panel namely; Hon. Justices Musa Dattijo Mohammad, Paul A. Galinje, John Inyang Okoro, Mas’oud Oredola and Regina O. Nwodo, have no issue to answer.

"That Hon. Justice Isa Ayo Salami, OFR and other Justices who served on the Ekiti and Osun States Gubernatorial Election Petition Appeal Tribunal namely; Justices Clara Bata Ogunbiyi, O. Ariwoola, Chiman Centus Nweze and Adamu Jauro have no ‘issue’ to answer as it found that the call logs relied upon by the petitioners lacked authenticity and evidential value and therefore no sufficient evidence to establish unethical communication between them.

“Having therefore established that the allegation by the Hon. President, Court of Appeal, Hon. Justice Isa Ayo Salami, OFR, against the Hon. Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu, GCON regarding the Sokoto Gubernatorial Election Appeal was false, Council decided that it is a misconduct contrary to Rule 1(1) of the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officer of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Consequently, Council further decided that the Hon. President of the Court of Appeal should:

"(1) Be warned for such unethical conduct which eroded the public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the Judiciary; and

"(2) Apologise in writing to both the Hon. Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman of National Judicial Council, Hon. Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu, GCON and National Judicial Council within a week from today the 10th day of August, 2011.”