The National Judicial Council(NJC) may urge President Goodluck Jonathan to allow the recall of Court of Appeal President, Isa Ayo Salami. He will, thereafter, go on retirement, sources said yesterday.
The Federal Government is sticking to the August 18, 2011 letter from the NJC, which recommended that Justice Salami should either go on suspension or retirement.
It was learnt that the NJC, last Thursday, decided to resolve the crisis in the Appellate Court “to move forward”.
A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “In line with the exercise of its powers, as in sections 153, 158 (1) and paragraph 21 (9) of the third schedule to the 1999 Constitution and Section 238 (5), the NJC actually decided to recall Justice Salami but he will thereafter proceed on retirement.
“Justice Salami is expected to withdraw all the suits in court against either the NJC or the government before these decisions can be effected.
“But the NJC Chairman, Justice Maryam Aloma-Mukhtar, is expected to discuss with President Goodluck Jonathan these options. This is the case because NJC wrote the President last year, recommending either the suspension or retirement of Justice Salami.
It was learnt that Justice Mukhtar could not discuss the resolutions of the NJC with Justice Salami as expected last Friday.
Another source, however, said: “Actually, Justice Salami was at the CJN office, but he could not have an audience with Justice
Aloma-Mukhtar because she was trying to clear her desk to travel out of the country the same day.
“But Justice Salami will be briefed on the options after the Sallah break.
“I think the NJC is trying to resolve the matter amicably without any conflict with the Executive.”
A senior government official, who pleaded not to be named, said the government’s position is for Justice Salami to proceed on retirement. “The government may not be disposed to his reinstatement,” he said, adding:
“That is a grey area which the NJC and the Executive would have to address. Do not forget that the same NJC asked the President to suspend or retire Justice Salami. That letter is still subsisting whether it was an error on the part of NJC or not.”
As at press time, it was gathered that some anti-Salami forces might file a suit today before a Federal High Court in Abuja to stop either the NJC or the Federal Government from recalling the PCA.
It was learnt that the plot to stop Justice Salami from coming back to office was hatched last Thursday immediately the NJC’s decisions got leaked.
It was gathered that some counsel have been engaged to stop Justice Salami, until he attains the statutory retirement age next year.
“The anti-Salami forces have not given up. They have sharply disagreed with the NJC. They want Salami retired instead of being recalled,” a source, who also pleaded not to be named, said.
“The suit will be filed on Monday. The essence is to put fresh legal hurdles before Justice Salami so that the NJC and the President will not take subjudicial actions,” he said.
Justice Salami was suspended from office by the NJC on August 18, 2011.
Although the NJC later reversed itself, issues surrounding the reinstatement of Justice Salami attracted a spate of litigations.
The last of such cases was on October 2 when the NJC said President Goodluck Jonathan has no disciplinary power over any Justice of the Court of Appeal or its President.
The Council also claimed that the Acting President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Dalhatu Adamu, cannot be reappointed after three months without its consent or approval.
The NJC made the submission in a written address submitted to the court through its counsel, Usman Isa Kana and Co.
The council is one of the defendants (3rd in particular) in a matter filed before a Federal High Court by 11 plaintiffs for themselves and on behalf of registered Trustees of the Centre for the Promotion of Arbitration.
The plaintiffs are Mr. Jitobo Akanike; Mr. Idris Musa; Mr. Allens Agbabiaka; Mr. Ibrahim Bawa; Princewill Akpakpan; Mr. Obruche Ayeteni; Mr. Nosa Ihaza; Mr. Timothy Odumosu; Mr. Stewart Salomi; Engr. Egogo Lawrence; and Maxwell Adeniran.
Through its lawyer, Usman Isa Kana, the NJC told a Federal High Court that President Jonathan has no disciplinary power over any Justice of the Court of Appeal or its President.
Source: The Nation