• President yet to receive recommendation
The decision of the National Judicial Council (NJC) recommending the re-instatement of Justice Ayo Salami as President,Court of Appeal stemmed from the hollowness of the reasons adduced for his suspension last August,The Nation on Sunday gathered at the weekend.
Justice Salami was asked to proceed on suspension for alleged misconduct but a source close to the council said this could not stand the rigour of scrutiny once the NJC reconvened in Abuja last week to review the issue.
The council,the source said ,is required to “act against a judicial officer strictly on the basis of a petition(s) against him.But in this case,the fact-finding committee found nothing against him.”
“So, if nothing was found against him why do you have to punish him?” the source said in reference to the committee’s dismissal of the allegation that Justice Salami was having telephone contact with some politicians.
“And there was the issue of perjury which we all know is a criminal offence.The proper place to try perjury is the court but the fact before the council was that no such matter was taken to any court.This is a gathering of legal minds and the expectation is that things are done according to the law of the land.
“That precisely was the basis for the decision.It was a matter of law and was treated accordingly.”
It was also gathered that the NJC recommendation was yet to reach the President as at last night.
It was not immediately clear what was responsible for the delay.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media,Dr.Reuben Abati had, in a statement announcing Justice Salami’s suspension last year,said:, “President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is in receipt of a correspondence dated 18th August, 2011, from the National Judicial Council, recommending the compulsory retirement of Hon. Justice Isa Ayo Salami, OFR, for misconduct in accordance with the provisions of Section 292 (1) (a) (i) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, and Rule 1 (1) of the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Consequently, President Jonathan, in exercise of the powers conferred on him by Section 238 (4) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, has approved the acting appointment of Hon. Justice Dalhatu Adamu to perform the functions of the office of the President of the Court of Appeal pending when all issues relating to the office of the President of the Court of Appeal are resolved.”
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Why NJC wants Salami re-instated