By Chima Ubeku

The Society for Rule of Law in Nigeria (SRLN) a non-governmental organization has protested the continued membership of the warned National Judicial Council (NJC) by the immediate past president of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) saying; “With his relationship with the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and its leaders, Akeredolu cannot be part of the NJC meeting that will deliberate on the Probe Panel report whenever it is submitted.”

The group also warned those planning to “reach out” to members of the Probe Panel to steer clear, saying; “Whoever plans to circumvent the probe panel report will be visited by the wrath of God.”

It alleged that the ACN caucus in the National Assembly was planning to hold talks with the panel Chairman, Justice Umaru Abdullai, adding that; “We are watching every of their moves.”

The NJC had set up a probe panel to investigate allegations of unethical behaviours against the Appeal Court President, Justice Isa Ayo Salami, six other appeal court justices, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) lawyers and some chieftains of the party. Parties to the petition have already submitted their final address with report now being awaited.

SRLN said in a statement issued in Abuja by its Coordinator, Comrade Chima Ubeku that; “Apart from his recent visit to Fayemi in Ekiti, Akeredolu was also part of the legal team of Governor Rauf Aregbesola in the Osun State matter, which is being investigated by the probe panel.”

“The former NBA chairman was also a guest of the ACN governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi during the June 12 anniversary in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital.

“Now that the Justice Umaru Abdullai Panel has concluded its sittings and Nigerians are eagerly awaiting the panel report, it has become pertinent that we warn the NJC to beware of the pitfalls of the Justice Salami's controversial judgment by making sure that its members who have vested interest in the matter are excused from the council.

“For instance, if Akeredolu, who was a counsel to Aregbesola in the Osun matter and was a guest of Fayemi in Ado-Ekiti less than two weeks ago is going to be part of the NJC meeting that would consider the panel report, it would also be better to have former governors, Chief Segun Oni and Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola in the meeting too.

“But since it will be against the law of naturally justice and fair hearing for a man to sit in his own cause, people like Akeredolu, who are interested parties in the matter must disqualify themselves from being part of the NJC meeting until the probe issues are done with,”

the group said.