Thursday, October 31, 2013

Confession: I Was Betrayed By Colleagues And Friends – Justice Salami


Freshly retired President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Isa Ayo Salami, on Thursday confessed that his colleagues and friends in the judiciary betrayed him during his trying time.
Justice Salami, who retired October 15 as the Court’s of Appeal fifth President, spoke during a valedictory court session held in his honour by the court. Justice Salami, dressed in the ceremonial gown of Justices of the court, presided over proceedings. He sat on the seat he occupied until August 18, 2011 when he was purportedly suspended by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Philosophically drawing a parallel between his case and that of the biblical Joseph who was sold to slavery by his family members, Justice Salami faulted the role the National Judicial Council (NJC) played in the events leading to his suspension.
He said the NJC failed in its duties and thereby surrendered its functions to the Executive Arm of the government, thus ingratiating itself to the executive.
Justice Salami stated that, firstly, the NJC lacked the constitutional powers to suspend him, and, secondly, it also acted wrongly when it asked the President to suspend him.
He stressed that the advice of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mariam Aloma Mukhtar, to both the executive and the legislative arms of government "that the NJC is the final authority in matters concerning judicial officers" was superfluous, as all powers needed by the council was enshrined in the constitution.
He further accused the President of the Customary Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Justice Moses Bello, of being an impostor, for presiding over the meeting that recommended his suspension from office.
The Acting President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, earlier in her speech, praised Justice Salami, saying his services to the nation at all levels, spanning over four decades were well appreciated.
It will be reminded, that  Justice Salami, who formally bowed out of office having attained the mandatory retirement age of 70 years on October 15, was suspended by President Goodluck Jonathan, upon a recommendation by the National Judicial Council (NJC) on August 8, 2011, following a disagreement with then Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Alloysius Katsina-Alu. 

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