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By Tunji Oluwasanmi
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Coalition of Non Government Organisations in Ekiti State under the auspices of Movement for Peace and Good Governance in Ekiti State

(MOPEGO) has called for the immediate commencement of the trial of the suspended President Court of Appeal (PCA), Justice Isa Ayo Salami, saying; “the federal government will be sending a wrong signal to Nigerians and the entire people of the world if it fails to prosecute Salami for such a criminal offence like perjury.”

The coalition, comprising Ekiti Justice Group (EJG), Ekiti Justice and Equity Movement (EJEM), The Ekiti Patriots (TEP), Ekiti Restoration Group (ERG) and others said in a statement issued by its Chairman, Mr.

Kunle Ologunodo and Secretary, Comrade Gbenga Babawibe that; “the criminal offence of perjury, allegedly committed by Justice Salami touches on the foundation of the judge's ability to discharge his duty with honesty and sincerity and must not be swept under the carpet.”

MOPEGO noted that; “With the suspension of Justice Salami and the appointment of another judge as the Acting PCA, Nigerians will be more convinced that Salami deserved an exit from the bench if the case of perjury against him is brought before the law court.”

“Perjury is criminal and it attracts 14 years imprisonment according to Section 118 of the Criminal Code. But apart from being a criminal offence, it is immoral for a judge, who sits in judgment over people who commit perjury to be a liar himself.

“Therefore, President Goodluck Jonathan must go a step further in proving that he has zero tolerance for corruption and other criminal acts by directing the immediate trial of Justice Salami,” MOPEGO said.

While lambasting the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and its allies for turning themselves into defenders of Justice Salami, MOPEGO said; “From the defense being put up by the ACN and its allies, it is no longer in doubt that the party and Salami actually had an understanding.

“We understand the plight of the ACN however. We are aware of the plans to take over Kwara, Benue and Rivers States, through the tribunal, no matter how patently bad the party's cases might be.

“This is now becoming a mirage, and you don't expect such a party that had invested so much hope in the ability of Justice Salami to award these three States to it, not to fight back.

“Or if not for pecuniary interests, why is it that only ACN controlled States are staging protests in support of Salami? Even in Kwara, Salami's home state, they are not protesting. But because the ACN sole administrator, Senator Bola Tinubu's agenda is crumbling even in the face of the over N1 billion he deployed last week, some paid mari-ma-chop activists and newspaper hatchet writers are now everywhere, making noise on an issue on which they were silent before.

“We therefore appeal to President Jonathan to remain firm and resolute in his support for the rule of law and sanitization of the judiciary, which no doubt stinks.”