by Saliu Kadiri
Judicial sources has confirmed that forces from Bourdillon, a Governor from one of the North west states and some elements in the Presidency had compelled the President of the Court of appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa to arrest the judgement in the case filed by Senate President, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki challenging his trial before the Code of Conduct Tribunal due to non compliance with the provision of the law, 30 minutes before the panel resumed sitting to deliver its judgement.
It will be recalled that two hours before the time slated for the commencement of the delivery of the judgement by the Court of Appeal, an online platform, Sahara Reporters, had started a game of blackmail on the judges as it reported in their story that “the Court of Appeal Abuja, have concluded plans to order a stop to the trial of Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki by the Code of Conduct Tribunal ordering immediate discontinuation of Mr Saraki’s trial”.
Nigerian public home and abroad have been wondering whether the online platform got the hint of the content of the supposed judgement and therefore decided to preempt the outcome of the case.
It is curious and unusual that a panel of Judges of the Court of Appeal will fix a date for giving judgement and less than 30 minutes to the period, the Judges did not even show up to brief either the counsel in chamber or the court but only a court clerk sauntered into the court room to announce that the judgement has been postponed and the court will communicate a new date to the parties at a later day.
The court clerk then immediately drove Saraki’s lawyer and other people out of the court room and locked the doors and windows.
Strangely, Mr. Rotimi Jacob SAN and other government lawyers did not turn up at all, leaving many to assume that they had foreknowledge of the way the events eventually turned out.
Highly placed sources in the judiciary confirmed that Justice Bulkachuwa is under extreme pressure not to allow any development that will jeopardize the plan to convict Saraki by all means at the CCT.
The source added that the President of the Court of Appeal may attempt to reassign the case to a more malleable panel of judges.
Many senior members of the bench described what happened in the Court of Appeal today as an aberration and a flagrant attempt to bring the judiciary to disrepute.
Some of them are of the opinion that Justice Bulkachuwa herself is under pressure from external forces whose brother bidding she would be inclined to do because of her on-going investigations for some past misdeeds.
“With what happened today, The President of the court of appeal may make desperate moves that we cannot immediately contemplate. Only God knows where this will end”, a top retired judge said.
Saliu Kadiri is a freelance journalist who reported from the venue of the court. He can be reached by email HERE.