SALAMI DARES NUC, FAILS TO RESPOND TO QUERY
The Chief Justice of Nigeria [CJN], Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu on Tuesday filed his response to the National Judicial Council [NJC] on the allegations against him concerning his alleged role on the controversial Sokoto State governorship appeal as directed by the Council.
However, his counterpart at the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Isa Salami, was yet to comply with the directive of the NJC by filing his response to the multiple queries issued to him by the Council over his alleged misconduct in the determination of appeals emanating from Ekiti and Osun states governorship petitions.
The NJC had on the orders of its Acting Chairman, Justice Dahiru Musdapher, issued queries to the two senior judicial officers on the allegations of unethical conducts against them, and gave them a 24-hour ultimatum to respond which expired yesterday.
However, findings by Daily Sun at the NJC yesterday at the close of work, revealed that while Katsina-Alu had responded, Salami's response was not yet in.
Following the development, the CJN had also stepped down as the chairman of the council in order not to be a judge in his own case, paving the way for the next in seniority, Justice Musdapher, to take over in acting capacity.
It was learnt that Justice Salami had previously rebuffed series of queries issued to him by Justice Katsina-Alu in his capacity as the chairman of council over the petitions arising from his handling of panels that determined the governorship election appeals in Osun and Ekiti states.
The ultimatum to respond to the last query issued to him by Katsina-Alu; his classmate at the Law School, expired yesterday without him responding to it.
The query was consequent upon fresh petitions brought against Salami by former Governor Segun Oni of Ekiti State and PDP acting chairman, Osun State chapter, Otunba Sunday Ojo-Williams, accusing Salami of corruption in the handling of appeals that sacked both Oni and former Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola of Osun State from office.
Salami was given a week by Katsina-Alu to respond to the query dated, March 2 and by yesterday, March 8, Salami's response was reportedly not yet in at the NJC.
The query entitled 'RE-COMPLAINT AGAINST SALAMI AND OTHERS FOR MY PREMEDITATED AND INJUDICIOUS REMOVAL FROM OFFICE AS GOVERNOR OF EKITI STATE- FURTHER FACTS & RE-OSUN APPEAL JUDGMENT: FURTHER EVIDENCE AGAINST SALAMI read: 'Attached hereto are two petitions against you dated 14th February and 16th February, 2011 respectively by Chief Segun Oni and Otunba Sunday Ojo-Williams on the above subject-matter. The petitions are self-explanatory. I shall be glad to have your comments before 9th March, 2011 when the Council will meet to discuss inter-alia the petitions, please'.
Meanwhile, the Osun State chapter of the PDP in a statement issued on Tuesday by its Acting Chairman, Otunba Sunday Ojo Williams said former NBA President, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, (SAN) cannot be part of today's deliberation because he was one of the lawyers engaged by the ACN in the Osun case.
The party which commended the CJN for agreeing to step aside as NJC chairman for allegations against him to be properly probed, said Akeredolu as counsel to one of the contending parties cannot be a judge in his own cause.
It also noted that Akeredolu in the February 13, 2011 issue of the Sunday Tribune showed his hands clearly by making a case for the ACN and its victory at the Appeal court.
Also, a non-governmental organisation, Judiciary Watch Network in a statement by its spokesperson Mohammed Qassim lauded the decision of the CJN to step aside and allow for a probe of all allegations leveled against him and Justice Ayo Salami.
The group described the action as a mark of leadership and statesmanship even as it said anyone opposed to the probe has something terrible to hide.
Also, the Osun state chapter of CNPP in a statement by its Chairman, Pastor Popoola Olatunji described the NJC decision to probe the Osun and Ekiti judgments as a welcome development even as it charged the NJC not to succumb to any blackmail on the matter.