Salami’s re-instatement: NJC meeting ends in deadlock

By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA — National Judicial Council, NJC, has failed to reach a consensus on the planned re-instatement of suspended President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Isa Ayo Salami, just as an emergency meeting it held in Abuja, yesterday, ended in a stalemate.

Investigations by Vanguard revealed that the meeting, which was presided by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Dahiru Musdapher, turned rowdy immediately the issue of quashing the suspension handed to the embattled PCA on August 18, was introduced.

Justice Salami

It was gathered that whereas the CJN, yesterday, expressed his intention to recommend the re-instatement of Justice Salami to President Goodluck Jonathan, however, some members of the council who are purportedly loyal to the former CJN, Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu, opposed the idea, contending that such action was capable of setting a very dangerous precedence in the judicial system.

Following a heated argument  between those in support of Salami’s re-instatement and those averse to the idea, the CJN okayed the constitution of an ad-hoc committee with a view to ironing out grey areas pertaining to the issue.

Though effort to get the identities of members of the council who were drafted into the committee proved herculean, considering that the meeting was held in camera, a source who spoke to Vanguard said it was composed in such a manner as to accommodate members from the opposing factions.

The source who pleaded anonymity further divulged that it was agreed that none of the members should disclose what transpired at yesterday’s meeting of the council to the public. He, however, stressed that no decision had been taken on Salami yet.

Meanwhile, the information could not be confirmed as the council declined to speak to the press.

It would be recalled that a 29-man Judicial Reform Committee that was constituted by the CJN on October 14 with a mandate to fashion out modalities for the enhancement of the justice sector, in their report, recommended the re-instatement of Justice Salami who was ab-initio suspended from office for allegedly lying on oath before a Federal High Court in Abuja.

Salami was specifically accused of engaging in judicial misconduct by alleging that the former CJN, Katsina-Alu, had mounted pressure on him to compromise standard at the Sokoto state election petition tribunal.

Upon conclusion of their assignment, the 29-man committee while recommending the recall of the embattled PCA, added a caveat to effect that all the pending litigations over the matter be withdrawn.

Sequel to their recommendation, a sub-committee comprising of was empanelled to look into the report, after which the second committee comprising of Justice Mamman Nasir, Justice U. Kalgo and Justice Bola Ajibola, equally implored the CJN to not only accede to the recommendation, but to also put machinery in place with a view to reconciling the warring parties.

Members of the NJC reform committee includes three former CJNs, S.M.A. Belgore, Idris L. Kutigi and A.I. Katsina-Alu, Mamman  Nasir (former PCA), A.G. Karibi-Whyte, Mustapha Akanbi, Umaru Abdullahi (former PCA), Kayode Eso (rtd. JSC), Umaru A. Kalgo (rtd. JSC) and Rose N. Ukeje (former CJ, Federal High Court).

Others are: Justice R.P.I. Bozimo (former Chief Judge, Delta State), Justice Lawal Hassan Gummi (Chief Judge, FCT), Joseph Daudu, SAN (NBA President), Chief Richard O. Akinjide SAN (former A-GF), Alhaji Abdullahi Ibrahim (SAN), (former A-GF), Dr. A.G.F. AbdulRazak (SAN) and Anthony O. Mogboh SAN.

Former NBA Presidents T.J.O. Okpoko, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), O.C.J. Okocha (SAN), Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), Oluwarotimi O. Akeredolu (SAN) and Prince Lanke Odogiyan, Esq.

As well as Hajiya Hairat Balogun, Prof. Epiphany Azinge (SAN), (Director-General, National Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, NIALS), Dr. Mamman Tahir (Director-General, Nigerian Law School) and  A.B. Mahmud (SAN).

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Salami’s re-instatement: NJC meeting ends in deadlock