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ONI seeks trial of Salami suspended Appeal court president for perjury,sues AGF

By Remi Koleoso ,Nigeria

TWO days after the expiration of the 72-hour ultimatum he gave the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Justice Minister, Mr. Mohammed Adoke (SAN), to commence criminal prosecution of the suspended President of the Court of Appeal (PCA), Justice Isa Ayo Salami, for perjury, former Governor of Ekiti State, Chief Segun Oni, has filed a suit at the High Court of FCT,Abuja, seeking an Order of Mandamus, directing the AGF to institute criminal proceedings against Salami.

Oni, who instituted the case through his counsel, Mr. Olusegun Ilori, said: “It is in the interest of justice, fair-play and the rule of law to prosecute the suspended President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Isa Ayo Salami, for giving false evidence as the prosecution borders on an issue of national interest, public concern, social justice and equality before the law.”

He averred that Salami deposed to facts in his affidavit of February 7, 2011 and March 31, 2011, about the existence of a state of affairs which were later shown not only to be false, but also to have been made knowing those facts to be false, with the aim of misleading conclusion in a judicial proceedings in contravention of S156, 157 and 158 of the Penal Code Laws of the Federal Capital Territory.

In the Motion Ex-parte filed on Thursday, January 26, 2012, the former governor is seeking an order of the court granting leave to him to apply for an Order of Mandamus directing the AGF to institute Criminal Proceedings against Justice Salami “for giving false evidence contrary to Sections 156, 157 and 158 of the Penal Code Act, Laws of The Federal Capital Territory.”

Alternatively, Oni wants an order of the court directing the AGF to issue “a fiat to the Applicant to institute Criminal Proceedings against Justice Salami.”

He stated 26 grounds upon which the Order of Mandamus was being sought, and supported the application with a three-paragraph statement of facts as well as a three-paragraph verifying affidavit he personally deposed to.

Also in support of the application, Oni attached four Exhibits, which include Salami's affidavit in support of his Motion on Notice of February 7, 2011, affidavit in response to the allegation of former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu dated March 31, 2011, report of the National Judicial Council (NJC) Panel of August 10, 2011 and a copy of his (Oni) letter of January 19, 2012 to the AGF entitled: “Request for the prosecution of Hon Justice Isa Salami for perjury.”

In the 26 grounds raised by Oni, he said: “On February 7, 2011, the Hon. Justice Isa Ayo Salami sued the then Chief Justice of the Federation, Hon. Justice Aloysius Iyorger Katsina-Alu vide an Originating Summons on the ground that the latter had orchestrated plans through the Federal Judicial Service Commission to forcefully promote him to the Supreme Court.

“In paragraphs 8-17 of the supporting Affidavit, forming part of the originating summons, Hon. Justice Isa Ayo Salami, stated chronologically, a sequence of events including the then Chief Justice of the Federation's attempt to allegedly influence the decision of the Sokoto Gubernatorial Election Petition Appeal Panel which he had constituted.

“Among the allegations levelled against the Chief Justice of the Federation in the said Affidavit, he stated in Paragraph 11 that the Chief Justice of the Federation asked him to disband the panel that he had set up for the purpose on the ground that the panel would allow the Appeal and begin a chain reaction that would lead to the removal of the highly revered Sultan of Sokoto.

“Hon. Justice Salami also maintained in his Affidavit that he refused to disband the said panel, following which the Supreme Court arrested the Judgement of the Court of Appeal panel and brought same under the Supreme Court following which the Appeal was dismissed.

“In the Affidavit, he traced the frosty relationship between himself and the then Chief Justice of the Federation to the “Sokoto” incident.”

The former governor noted that pursuant to the hearing of the Justice Umaru Abdullai-led National Judicial Council (NJC) Panel, Justice Salami deposed to a five-paragraph Affidavit on March 31, 2011.

“Hon Justice Isa Salami stated in the said paragraph 4 (v) of the sworn affidavit that 'the Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria actually instructed me to direct the panel of justices hearing the Sokoto state gubernatorial Appeal Panel to dismiss the Appeal which I told him I could not do.'

“When Hon. Justice Dahiru Musdapher, the current Chief Justice of the Federation, was invited by the Abdullahi Panel of the NJC, he denied the assertions in Paragraph 4(v) of the Affidavit of March 31, 2011being the only witness stating that while he was in the office of the then Chief Justice of the Federation on the said day, the Chief Justice of the Federation never asked Hon. Justice Isa Ayo Salami to compromise the Sokoto Gubernatorial Appeal Panel.

“After the hearing, the panel closed its proceeding, the NJC subsequently released its report of the panel and stated that the President of the Court of Appeal was not telling the truth when he accused the Chief Justice of the Federation of wanting to influence the judgement of the Court of Appeal.

“The panel in the said report stated its finding on page 96 as follows 'From all the circumstances there is available evidence that the CJN did not give instructions to the PCA to direct the panel to dismiss the appeal''…. '' the Panel finds that the allegation that the CJN had taken over the running of the Court of Appeal in an unprecedented manner as unfounded'.

The NJC conclusions stated: “At the end of deliberations, the Council decided as follows: That the allegation made by the Hon. President, Court of Appeal, Hon. Justice Isa Ayo Salami, that the Hon. Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu, instructed him to direct the Sokoto Gubernatorial Appeal to dismiss the appeal by the Democratic Peoples Party of Nigeria is NOT TRUE."


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