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GROUP SLAMS JUDICIAL REFORM COMMITTEE OVER SALAMI

By Chima Ubeku
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An Abuja based Non Governmental Organisation; the Society for Rule of Law in Nigeria (SRLN) has described the recommendation of the Judicial Reform Stakeholders Committee on the suspended President Court of Appeal (PCA), Justice Isa Ayo Salami as an affront on the rule of law, adding that; it was worrisome for a committee comprising of lawyers and retired justices to have made recommendations on a matter that is before the Court.

The group, which alleged that the cabal, whose interests Justice Salami served, was unrelenting in its bid to get the suspended judge back to office by whatever means possible, said the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Dahiru Musdapher should be wary of the implication of returning Justice Salami to office through the backdoor on the judiciary and his position as the CJN.

The SRLN said in a statement issued today by its Coordinator, Comrade Chima Ubeku that it was aware of all the clandestine moves being made by the Pro-Salami cabal and the desperation to recruit the CJN into their sinister plot.

It said it was even more appalling that Justice Salami issue was not part of the Committee's term of reference and the matter may not have been discussed throughout the committee sittings.

“We are aware of all the meetings, including times and locations. We are also aware of the involvement of a prominent retired CJN, and the plot to use the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) election petition that is before the Supreme Court to blackmail President Goodluck Jonathan on the Salami's issue.

“Our questions are; what is the interest of this cabal in Justice Salami's suspension and his return to office?

“When has it become the duty of politicians to fight the interest of a judicial officer?

“Is it no longer contemptuous for a matter that is before the Court to be tabled before a panel or committee, not to talk of a committee that was saddled with matters bordering on judicial reform?

“And if the committee has recommended that Justice Salami and the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu be merely reconciled; what happens to the lie that Justice Musdapher said Justice Salami told against Justice Katsina-Alu?

“Does it them mean that the Justice Muhammed Lawal Uwais (retd) committee's way of reforming the judiciary was for Salami, a judge, who the CJN said lied on oath to continue to administer justice and carry out functions of the office of the PCA?

“Lastly, won't it also amount to saying that the CJN actually lied against Justice Salami at the National Judicial Council (NJC) probe panel, because the NJC report was categorical that Justice Salami lied on oath against Justice Katsina-Alu on the Sokoto State election matter, and it was the evidence of Justice Musdapher that made the panel to arrived at the position.

“Our position therefore is that the CJN and President Jonathan must be aware of the cabal plotting the return of Justice Salami, especially the retired CJN that has been working with them since the issue of Elections Reforms came up,” SRLN said.