Yuguda's Campaign Of Intimidation Against Justice Of The Federal Court Of Appeal
“Since the day I took the oath of office as a judicial officer, I resolved to keep faith with my oath having it always at the back of my mind that one day I shall give account of my conduct as a Judge to the Almighty God. I have therefore striven to do that by doing what I find to be just either in favor of the powerful or the weak. That is why even when the current Governor was being persecuted by the past administration during their political campaigns, I gave decisions in their favor as I found to be just despite the fact that they were in power” – wrote Honorable Justice H. M. Tsammani, Justice of the Court of Appeal in a July 28th 2010 letter to The Honorable Chief Judge of Bauchi State in response to the campaign of harassment unleashed on him [Tsammani] by the Governor of Bauchi State, Malam Isa Yuguda over recent rulings delivered by him that did not favor the Yuguda administration.
Documentary information in the possession of ukpakareports.com reveal that the Yuguda administration has launched a campaign of harassment against one of its indigenous Justices recently promoted to the Court Appeal. This, it is gathered to be in retaliation for two major rulings delivered by Justice Tsammani. One of the cases was between the 'Deputy Governor of Bauchi State, Garba M. Gadi and the Speaker House of Assembly & ors – and the other was between the Bauchi State Government and Puritano Limited. In both cases, the Justice, who is a Christian, ruled against government of Bauchi State. In the first case, the Justice ruled that the Deputy Governor shall be reinstated as the rightful Deputy Governor of Bauchi State, and in the second case, he ruled that the accounts of the Bauchi State accounts will remain garnished until it pays Puritano Limited N561million debt it owes it for a contract project performed by the contractor, who also happens to be a Christian.
Prior to the promotion of Judge Tsammani to the Court of Appeal – that saw him move to Federal Court of Appeal in Ekiti State, the commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of Bauchi State in the person of Barrister Al-Mustapha Sulaiman Hassan had drafted a complain/protest letter referenced MOJ/LAW/S/29/V.II and captioned DEPUTY GOVERNOR OF BAUCHI STASTE GARBA M. GADI VS. THE SPEAKER HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY AND ORS – APPLICATION FOR THE TRANSFER OF THE CASE - dated June 28th 2010 to the Chief Judge of Bauchi State requesting that the Chief Judge transfer the captioned case out of Justice Tsammani's court. However following the exit of Justice Tsammani, the commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of Bauchi State, Barrister Al-Mustapha Sulaiman Hassan on June 30th 2010 [two days later] wrote the Chief Judge stating that “I humbly apply to withdraw the complain letter with Ref. No. MOJ/LAW/S/29/V.II dated 28th June, 2010. The respondents are no longer interested in pursuing the complain and have decided to hear the application before High Court No. 4 Bauchi. We urge my lord to discontinue action on the said application”. To this, the Chief Judge accented. [Click here to see letter]
Immediately following the move by Justice Tsammani, the garnet of intimidation found its canvass. The Yuguda boys under direction from the Governor of Bauchi State ordered that all of the items given to Justice Tsammani be retrieved. On July 22nd 2010, Abubakar Y. Suleiman [writing for the Secretary to the State Government, SSG] wrote the Chief Registrar of Bauchi State a letter referenced GO/SS/OFF/S/60/T/12 and captioned REQUEST FOR THE RETRIEVAL OF VEHICLES AND PLANT. In the 'secret' letter, he wrote “Further to the appointment of Hon. Justice Haruna Tsammani as the Judge of the Federal High Court, Abuja and the on-going proposal for the appointment of new Judges in the Bauchi State Judiciary, I have been directed to requested you to retrieve the following vehicles and plant allocated to Hon. Justice Haruna Tsammani by the Bauchi State Government for subsequent re-allocation to another Judge. The vehicles and plant are: Mercedes Benz E-Class, Toyota Camry 2010, Peugeot 307 and Soundproof perking generating set”. [Click here to see letter]
With the receipt of the letter from the SSG's office, the Chief Registrar, Aliyu B. Usman, on the same day, July 22nd 2010, forwarded the letter as an attachment to Justice Tsammani in a letter referenced CJC/BAS/S/PER/4/1. Six days after the July 22nd 2010, the SSG's office wrote the Chief Registrar requesting for the Registrar to take immediate action to retrieve the items. This is reflected in a secret letter of reminder from the Chief Registrar to Justice Tsammani on July 28th 2010. [Click here to see letters from Chief Registrar].
On August 23rd 2010, the Permanent Secretary/Political Affairs took his turn. Writing for the SSG, he drafted a letter directly to Justice Tsammani referenced GO/SS/OFF/S/60/T/14 authoritatively demanding that he return the items in question to the Chief Registrar. [Click here to see letter]
But what appears puzzling are the reasons given by the Yuguda administration for the need to retrieve the said items. The administration indicated that it needs to retrieve the items to give to the newly appointed Judges in the Bauchi Judiciary. However ukpakareports.com gathered that it is common knowledge that there is no Judge in Bauchi State who has not been allocated a car. It is also factual that the exercise for the appointment of new Judges in Bauchi State has been completed and names sent to the National Judicial Council for appointment of 3 new Judges. It was gathered that no exercise for the appointment of new Judges could have been done unless the State Government gives a guarantee that all necessary working materials for the Judges to be appointed has been procured.
Interestingly, ukpakareports.com gathered also that the Yuguda administration bought cars and soundproof generating sets for Judicial Officers who are indigenes of Bauchi State who are serving in the Federal Judiciary. At the time, the government referred to them as ambassadors of Bauchi State at the National Judiciary.
Adding muster to the ill-orchestrated intimidation is the treatment meted out to Hon. Justice Habib Idris Shall who was compulsorily retired. He was allowed to keep the cars and generating sets allocated to him while he was in service.
Ukpakareports.com reached out to the office of the SSG for response but they refused to comment. The Bauchi State SSG was contacted through 08065351414.