International Group berates NBA over Salami

By Akinmola Ade

The Transparency and Justice International, (TAJIN) a London based global civil society judicial affairs monitor, has described as hypocritical the position of the NBA on the suspension of the President of the Nigerian Court of Appeal Justice Isa Salami, saying that the NBA has no moral authority to support the perpetuation in office a judge who has been adjudged by his colleagues and the highest judicial administrative body as a ''liar''.

The organization stated that the Nigerian Bar ought to be more concerned with what the ordinary man in the street will feel when a man adjudged as a' liar' sits at the bench to adjudicate on a case.

TAJIN , in its reaction signed by its Executive Secretary Jones Klaus and Coordinator African Affairs Dr Jide Adesodun believes that the NBA ought to have advised the Court of Appeal President to resign as soon as it became clear that his moral authority has been questioned in several respects including allegations of communication with one of the parties in a suit before him in an election tribunal.

The organization reffered to the recent case of a juror in London

Joanne Frail, 40, of Blackley (UK) who is currently serving 8 months in jail for interacting with a litigant on the facebook, reminding the NBA that Nigeria inherited the English Common law where it was unlawful and unethical for judges to be perceived to maintain social relationships with one of the parties in a suit before the judge.

The organization wondered while the NBA kept mute and felt unconcerned when the President of the Court of Appeal ignored a publicized suit before an Abuja Federal High Court challenging his composition and participation in election tribunals pending the completion of the investigation of the NJC against him. “Despite the pendency of this suit, Justice Salami constituted the election panels and much more put himself as Chairman of the Presidential Election Tribunal, when one of the parties - the PDP was still in court in the suit FHC/ABJ/CS 375/2011 filed on 14 April 2011,even before the Nigerian recent elections”,the group noted

TAJIN “believes that the NBA ought to be more concerned with the image of the judiciary which has been battered in the eyes of the public by the SALAMIGATE scandal with the feeling from the common man that there still exist in the bench judges whose conduct and social relationships affect the judgements emanating from the courts rather than strict adherents to facts and pleadings before the courts”.

The group commended President Jonathan for moving speedily to maintain the integrity of the judiciary and prevent judicial anarchy occasioned by the disobedience to constituted authority of justice Salami who is bent on destroying the judiciary just to for his sustainance in office to perpetuate corruption. The group called on the President and the National Assembly to accept the recommendation of the NJC to remove Salami and his allies from the judiciary.