Differentiating The Salami-Alu Gate Scandal From Buhari’s Broad Day Light Coup Against The CJN & Nigerian Judiciary: The Role Intersociety Played
(Chima Ubani Centre, Onitsha Nigeria: 27th January 2019)- The attention of Intersociety is drawn to attempts by agents of darkness and forces of tyranny and lawlessness to equate the recent executive coup against the Nigerian Judiciary by recalling the Salami-Alu Gate scandal and linking or comparing same with the former to justify the brazen and dictatorial act of President Muhammadu Buhari and his company.
This is not the first time since recent years the agents of darkness and profiteers of anarchy, lawlessness and tyranny would draw such infamous and perfidious comparison or linkage. When it was time for the immediate past IGP to go, they wanted him to stay beyond his statutory tenure, reminding Nigerians that it was done in the past during the military and civilian periods. When a retired director of SSS was recalled from his retirement since 2013 as a retired State director of SSS and appointed DG, SSS, they also defended same saying it was done in the past.
CP Ibrahim Magu has been the ”acting Chairman of EFCC” for three years or more and the same agents of darkness came out and defended it. Retired Col Hamid Ali was appointed to head the Nigerian Customs Service instead of a qualified deputy comptroller general or assistant comptroller general they said it was normal and cited a past precedent; INEC was without its full statutory national commissioners and REC for several months, they defended it; Buhari spent 150 days in office without a cabinet, they said it was democratic; Buhari rose and dustbined the Constitution and flooded the country’s top security positions with Hausa-Fulani Officers and they said it is sound and democratic; and now the same Buhari has risen, organized and executed a broad day light coup against the Judiciary, they said it was right, after all “Jonathan removed Salami”.
To these agents of darkness and profiteers of human misery and disorderliness, it does not matter if such past precedents were done dictatorially or in brazen disregard to the due process, rule of law, fairness and the constitution. It does not matter to them, too, if Nigeria goes the way of Rwanda or chronically lags behind as a country as long as monies are borrowed from international lending institutions and local capital markets; shared or looted and re-looted with crumbs filtering into their cursed pockets.
Shockingly, the greater percentage of these agents of darkness darkening and blackening the country’s democracy and decent living are professed “human rights activists and social crusaders of the old or Nigeria’s military’s inglorious epoch”; now turned enemies of democracy and underminers of the country’s rule of law and societal decency. The same military and tyrannical zealot and zealotry they labored to fight and defeat are now their hero and collective symbol. What a tragedy? How did Nigeria and Nigerians get to this point of chronic irreversibility? Who did this to Nigeria and these turncoats?
For the records, Nigerians are hereby reminded that the Katsina Alu-Isa Salami Gate scandal was conscientiously championed by Intersociety. As clearly provided in the piece below, the parties became desperate and panicky and hired moles and other amenable groups to flood NJC with petitions in their favor; diminishing or attempting to diminish the substance of the matter. Intersociety wrote its own independent petition to NJC calling for thorough and unbiased probe of Hon Justices Aloysius Katsina Alu and Ayo Isa Salami.
As clearly stated below, our letter was duly dated and referenced and addressed to the Deputy Chairman of NJC, Honourable Justice Dahiru Musdapher, CFR, dated 24th February 2011. The NJC graciously acknowledged same via a reply sent to Intersociety dated 2nd March 2011 through its Deputy Chairman, Hon Justice Dahiru Musdapher with Ref: NJC/F.2/CA.1/1/39. Intersociety’s letter was collectively adopted by NJC after its marathon meeting, after which it held a press conference announcing the adoption of our petition, among other things. Nigerian media archives still contain the stories of the said NJC press conference and mentioning of Intersociety as the lead-petitioner. See the rest of the details below.
Consequently, contrary to the position of the agents of darkness under reference, (1) there is no iota of comparism between Buhari’s broad day light coup against the Judiciary and the NJC recommended removal of Hon Justice Ayo Isa Salami (then President of the Court of Appeal) and exoneration of Hon Justice Aloy Katsina Alu (then Chief Justice of Nigeria). (2) Hon Justice Salami was presidentially removed based on NJC recommendation. (3) The NJC meeting was never presided over by Hon Justice Alu as then CJN but by Hon Justice Dahiru Musdapher as “the next most senior Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria”.
(4)The then CJN and the PCA were not removed from their respective positions or offices during the NJC probe. (5) Unlike Buhari’s broad day light coup against the CJN, Jonathan acted on recommendation of the NJC. (6) Buhari and his slavish and biased advisers including the so called “Learned Silk” among them were so politically desperate that they refused and failed to take recourse to NJC waiting for its recommendation; but opted for executive coup and recklessness.
It must be warned that if care is not taken in this country, these agents of darkness majorly drawn from mainstream and online media and compromised Civil Society Community and legal profession will set Nigeria on fire. They have already crossed the red lines of toleration and must be watched closely and quarantined before they cause Nigeria to go up in flames and become a ghost town of Rwandan quantification.
Below is the text of our reaction to power games played in the NJC on account of the said Alu-Salami Gate scandal over alleged compromising roles of the duo in the Osun, Ekiti and Sokoto Governorship Election Petitions judgments. While Hon Justice Katsina Alu was accused of compromising the Sokoto Governorship Election judgment, Hon Justice Ayo Isa Salami was alleged to have been caught electronically compromising himself and his position in the Osun and Ekiti States Governorship Petition Tribunals and their judgments. It was also PDP versus ACN political tussle.
For: Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chinwe Umeche and Obianuju Joy Igboeli
“Intersociety’s Public Comment
Alu-gate Versus Salami-gate: How Blue-Curtain Culture Murdered The Truth
(Onitsha Nigeria, August 22nd 2011)- On 24th February, 2011, the leadership of International Society for Civil & the Rule of Law-Intersociety, wrote the National Judicial Council of Nigeria, through the Honourable Justice Dahiru Musdapher, CFR, in his capacity as the Deputy Chairman of the
Distinguished Council. Our rooting the letter through the Honourable Deputy Chairman, who is also a Distinguished Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, was in line with the sacred principles of
“Audi Alteram Partem” and “Nemo Judex In Causa Sua”, that is to say: in matters of civil and criminal enquiries, fair-hearing must be ensured and a remote or overt interested party must not sit over such enquiries so as not to be a judge in their own case. Therefore, since the Honourable Chairman of the NJC and CJN, Honourable Justice Aloysius Katsina Alu, GCON, was also accused of involvement in the allegations, we considered it immoral and legally thoughtless to channel our letter to his office.
We also discovered that all the organizations and bodies that forwarded petitions over the matter rooted theirs wrongly (i.e. via the CJN). Another observation that necessitated our writing the NJC, was a discovery that most of the said bodies, especially those from Lagos and Abuja axis appeared as if they were sympathetic to either of the two parties. While most rooted for the removal of the retiring CJN and shielding of the PCA, few rooted for the removal of both CJN and PCA.
Apart from the fact that it was the neutrality of our letter that made it a lead-petition, the report of the NBA Committee that looked into the allegations, which was widely publicized recently in the leading national dailies also pointed out this fact in its column dedicated for Intersociety. As a result, our petition formed the background of the NBA/NJC’s enquiries. On 2nd March, 2011, the NJC, through its Deputy Chairman, acknowledged our letter of 24th February 2011, through Ref: NJC/F.2/CA.1/1/139. Since the release of the NBA’s report and the ongoing show of shame between the NJC and the PCA, Honourable Justice Ayo Isa Salami, OFR, we had been bombarded with calls and enquiries from the journalists and other relevant bodies as per why we have not aired our opinion over the subject under reference, more so when it has fully become the ACN and the PDP affair.
Consequently, our informed reaction to all this is as follows: 1. we are deeply shocked and disappointed over the way and manner the NJC/NBA handled the said enquiries as well as their findings. 2. Our non-reaction on the heels of all this, particularly the release of the said report, stemmed from the said shock and surprise.3. The findings of the NBA/NJC are shallow, watery, protective, provocative, and a blue-curtain inspired enquiries. 4. The findings further showed the extent of rot in the nation’s judiciary, and place it in a villainy award competition with the nation’s hitherto most corrupt institution-the Nigeria Police Force. 5. The findings also showcased the intractable inculcation of the culture of blue-curtain in the nation’s intra agencies’ civil and criminal enquiries, which further encourage rabid impunity. 6. With these, it has become obvious that our election petitions are crudely bribery-laden, which can best be described as judiciary’s “blooddiamond”.
In the field of police psychology and the criminology & security studies, “blue-curtain”, which is a sub-topic in the “police personality”, is the unwillingness of a police officer to investigate and indict his or her fellow police officer, accused of crime or misconduct, in the spirit of “partners in uniform”.
It also involves aiding the police officer to escape justice or indictment, on the ground that the person who laid the complaint should be seen and treated as an “outsider” and an “enemy number one”. This, obviously, must have been the case in the matter under reference. Asking “unclean hands” to visit equitable sanctions against his “unclean” colleagues is an act of impossibility.
Apart from the fact that the NJC/NBA goofed unpardonably in the said enquiries, the retiring CJN and the soon-to-be retired PCA, appeared to be shameless and immoral. For political reasons, they refused to throw in the towel at the appointed time so as to save the top echelon of the Nigerian Judiciary from further show of shame and precipitation. They also resolved to remain utterly legalistic in utter defiance of moral decency. We dare say that no matter the quantum of legal escapist jargons employed by their “learned espirit de corps” to free them from the obvious culpability, the incontrovertible prima facie pieces of evidence attached to the allegations, remain that the CJN goofed unpardonably over the Sokoto State Governorship Matter, by over-stepping his constitutional bounds. The power to “constitute or empanel and dissolve election tribunals, arrest their judgments”, etc, with the exception of the final adjudication of the presidential election cases in Nigeria, expressly lies with the President of the Court of Appeal( PCA). The mere allegation of the leakage of a judgment cannot warrant such extra-constitutional interference by the CJN, except in related matters pending before the Supreme Court, in cases within the Apex Court’s jurisdiction.
On the other hand, the case against the PCA, Honourable Justice Ayo Isa Salami, OFR, is dicier and criminally damaging. Till date, the same set of senior lawyers, who defended the ACN in the Osun and Ekiti States’ governorship matters, whom the PCA was accused of dilly dallying with, when he presided over the said matters, are the same team of lawyers defending him in courts today.
Further to this, is the alacrity with which the Southwest based lawyers, NGOs and the leaderships of the Action Congress of Nigeria are defending the role of the PCA. Our initial entry into the matter was because of the foregoing manifest biases. The NBA/NJC’s blanket exoneration of the PCA over
his involvement in the electronic conversations with the ACN chieftains and lawyers, among other related accusations, despite the incontrovertible records of call-logs,etc, is the height of miscarriage of justice. Also, the NJC’s statement that the CJN “acted in good faith” by interfering with the Sokoto State Governorship Judgment is unknown to our body of laws, which means that the NBA/NJC committees have” enacted another constitution for Nigeria and Nigerians”. Consequently, we see the suspension from office, of the PCA, by the NJC as meting the wrong penalty to the wrong person. The right penalty for the PCA should have been the outright removal from office and his criminal prosecution for gross misconduct, by using his exalted public office as “business enterprise”, etc, during his “over-seer-ship” in the Osun and Ekiti States’ Governorship Matters. Suspending him from office, on the ground that “he lied under oath”, and against the CJN, is a wrong application of the laws of punishment. The retiring CJN should have been removed from office, as well, for gross violation of the Constitution. If he was found involved in any material inducement in the said matter, he should have faced criminal prosecution as well. In the meantime, the PCA’s refusal to vacate his office on the strength of the NJC’s directive is an invitation to anarchy.
It is also a dangerous precedent. The PCA, by this singular act, is introducing an anarchic doctrine; whereby governors impeached by their legislators or removed by electoral courts, will refuse to vacate office, on the grounds of “pendency of matters in courts” or “faulty processes”. It is our advice to the PCA and his lawyers to comply with the NJC’s constitutional directive, first, and contest the processes of his removal in courts, with motions for accelerated hearing of their suits. The doctrine of “obey before complain” is very important in this respect.
Finally, it is obvious that the top echelon of the country’s judiciary has been highly politicized and bastardized. It may be correct to say that the retiring CJN is a card-carrying member of the PDP and the PCA, ACN’s chieftain in the nation’s top judiciary. If this is true, then all the election-related judgments that went the ways of the PDP and the ACN might not have been predicated on merit and sound legal grounds. For the fact that administrative enquiries were conducted into the said despicable roles does not stop the proper criminal investigations into same by the appropriate agencies. Therefore, we call for proper criminal investigations of the duo of the CJN and the PCA by relevant criminal investigation agencies with a view to sanctioning them appropriately.
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman, BOT