NJC SUSPENDS SALAMI

By NBF News
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In a statement signed by the council's Director of Administration, Mr. E. I. Odukwu, Justice Salami was accordingly directed to handover to the next most senior justice of the Appeal Court.

The statement reads: 'Pursuant to the powers conferred on the National Judicial Council in the constitution of the Nigeria, 1999 as amended, Justice Isa Ayo Salami, OFR, president of the Court of Appeal has been suspended from office with effect from today August 18, 2011.

'The decision was reached at the seventh Emergency Meeting of the council held on August 18, 2011.'The National Judicial Council further directs that Justice Salami should hand over the affairs of the Court of Appeal to the next most senior justice of the court.'

No reference was made to the suit filed by Salami at the Federal High Court in Abuja wherein he was challenging the report of the Justice Umaru Abduallahi panel, which investigated him and Katsina-Alu for alleged misconduct.

Another sub-committee of the NJC, headed by the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, recommended that Salami should tender a written apology to both Katsina-Alu and the council.

The Auta's committee also recommended that Salami be cautioned. A letter of caution had already been sent to him.

In arriving at its decision, the council, based on the Auta panel's recommendation, found Salami in breach of Rule 1(1) of the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers. The Rule 1 provides: 'A judicial officer should avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all his activities. (1) A Judicial Officer should respect and comply with the laws of the land and should conduct himself at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.'

Salami refused and headed for the court. In the suit, Salami was asking the Federal High Court in Abuja to set aside the proceeding and findings of the investigation panel headed by Justice Umaru Abdullahi and the recommendation of the panel headed by Justice Ibrahim Auta. He asked the court to declare that the setting up of the NJC Investigation Committee and its composition were in gross violation of the principles of natural justice and his constitutionally guaranteed rights to fair hearing under Section 36 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999(as amended) and was therefore unconstitutional, null and void.

He listed as defendants the following: the National judicial Council; Justice Dahiru Musdapher; Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu; Justice Umaru Abdullahi; Justice Emmanuel Ayoola; Justice Dominic Edozie; Justice Michael Akpiroroh; Mrs. Rakia Sarki Ibrahim; Justice Ibrahim Ndahi Auta; Justice Kate Abiri; and Justice Peter Umeadi.

Three Senior Advocates of Nigeria, namely Chief Akin Olujinmi (SAN), Rickey Tarfa (SAN); Chief Adeniyi Akintola (SAN) filed the case on behalf of Justice Salami.