10 January, 2015

“Between the politicians and the learned colleagues”

Who are more the criminals and the culprits whom we should lay the blame of our stunted development as a people on their door steps? The politicians or our honourable learned colleagues, who might not be learned after all.

They go by the names Learned Colleagues, legal luminaries, counselors, lawyers, legal practitioners, Barristers and whatever hallowed nomenclatures they might’d discovered and settled on for themselves, as they intimidate the public and coarse respect from among the people. They negotiated and convince the people on their indispensability and secured a spot for themselves as an arm of government that makes things right, whereas they contribute and are part of the problems. They’re quick to jump off the board and accuse the politicians of corruption and stalling the country’s development whenever things doesn’t go well, forgetting the fact that they’re part and parcel of those running things.

They stall and constitute obstacles to the dispensation of justice. They adjourned cases, and receive kick backs behind the surface and under the tables to further their pervasive modus operandi, they proclaim their saintly and defile less lives, and are quick to deceive you that they’re your last hope. But am here to tell you  not to listen to them, they’ll screw you and ask you to pay 50k for file opening and consultancy, after raising your hope, that they’re watching your back. It’s a lie, they ain’t watching no shit, if you leave your rare for them, and think they’re watching your back, you’ll get screwed. They’re like the double face Janus that looks to the front, while also looking behind. They are evil, carrying a little bit of good that has been overshadowed by selfishness and greed, just like the politicians. 
Justice Aloma Murtar, CJN.

In our country, if you go check the number of cases awaiting trial, and how long they’d been pending, you’ll be amaze, and wonder what the guys in the system does when they go to work. I have heard and witnessed a situation a case might’d been fixed for hearing or determination, only for the judge not to turn up for no reasonable  excuse, except for that he or she missed his or her newspaper for the morning or had a quarrel with their spouses, thereby, allowing everyone’s fate to be dangling on limbo, as they prolong cases for as long as ten, fifteen, twenty, even eternity years. 
To them they’re and see themselves as God, who can decide who, lives or who dies. 

Go check the accounts, and assets made out in the names of most of our legal practitioners In our country, and you’ll be amaze at the level of ill gotten wealth they’ve so primitively accumulated just like our rogues politicians, yet no one talks about them. They’re richer than most business men, as their wealth over the years piled up through their shady and justice obstructions activities without scrutiny. Little wonder jungle justice and lack of faith in the country’s legal system has fast become part of us, as the legendary reggae king Bob Marley said “You can fool some people sometimes, but you can't fool all the people all the time” 

People now prefer and glamour for the days of Amadioha, Shango, and the instant striking of the thunder to take over the dispensation of justice, as our learned colleagues, who appear dumb in most of their proclamations, and rulings, and tend to confused our judgement and insult our intelligence, claiming that cases are determined base on some technicality and whatever jargons and lies that they peddle that no longer inspire confidence.
Sometimes you wonder whether they usually travel out of the universe, or have cotton boards in their ears or wool on their eyes when celebrated crimes are committed all over the world, like that of Oscar Pristorius, OJ Simpson, Michael Jackson’s child molestation case, the propofol drug that killed him, administered by  his Doctor, Corad Murray, former prime minister of Israel, Ehud Olmerd, who was jailed for corruption, and the order by the court for the arrest of Pakistani’s prime minister, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf , Damilola Tailors murder cases, and many others when they come up, the time frame the hearing, determinations and the ruling on the cases were conducted, and dispose of within a reasonable time frame, thereby reposing confidence and hope of justice on the system. But not so here with the boys running things in our house, if they’d done there work, the Ekiti State Governor elect won’t be slapping a Judge, and obstructing court proceedings, Oji Uzoh Kalu won’t be in USA buying new jets, and writing rubbish on his Sun newspaper about another serving corrupt none performing governor, Joshua Dariye, Jolly Nyame, Boni Haruna, Tarfa Balogun, Alamesia, Gbenga Daniel, Farouk Lawal, Femi Otedola and the Elumelu guy that was once the Chairman House Committee on power, that were investigating President Obasanjo’ regime’s wastage of over 60Billion dollars on a none existing power project  would’ve all been where they truly deserve by now. The former governor of Delta state, Jame Onanefe  Ibori wouldn’t had so disgraced the country and the country’s legal system as he did, Bola Ahmed Tinubu wouldn’t have become so powerful, transacting almost half of Lagos in his sitting room, Chris Uba and the oil marketers would’ve by now known their fates. 

But our judicial system, workers, and legal practitioners would not allow the course to work itself, they’ll aid the politicians to distort our laws, make mess of what makes for morals in our country, insult our sensibilities and expect no one to put the blame of our degradation, degeneration and shameless and abominable behaviours on their door steps, who then should we blame? No wonder they’re as rich as our corrupt and stealing politicians, if you doubt me, go find out how much the likes of Festus Keyamo, Riki Tarfa, Femi Falana, and the rest charges on election tribunal and other cases bordering on corruption and other criminal cases, and how long those cases have been pending in court, if not completely forgotten. Shake them up a little and you’ll be amaze at the level of ill gotten wealth they’ve so primitively accumulated just like our rogues politicians. They’re richer than most business men, as their wealth over the years had piled up through their shady and justice obstructions activities without scrutiny. Little wonder jungle justice and lack of faith in the country’s legal system is fast becoming part of us, as the legendary reggae king Bob Marley said “You can fool some people sometimes, but you can fool all the people all the time” To the people, you’d been fooling us for a very long time

The concern of this writer is the fate of the judiciary in the face of the comic absurdity in our nation’s democratic practice. Prof. Yemi Akinseye-George (SAN) had sounded a note of warning to judges in his book, ‘Legal System, Corruption And Governance in Nigeria’, saying Gen. Ibrahim Babangida held the judiciary responsible for the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election.

In his annulment proclamation, Babangida said that “the judiciary has been the bastion of the hopes and liberties of our citizens. Therefore when it became clear that the courts became intimidated and subjected to the manipulation of the political process, resulting in contradictory decisions and orders by courts of coordinate jurisdiction, then the entire political system was in clear danger. Accordingly, it is in the supreme interest of the laws and order, political stability and peace that the presidential election be annulled.”

In the same vein, Gen. Sani Abacha blamed the judiciary for sacking Chief Ernest Shonekan’s Interim National Government, following Justice Dolapo Akinsanya of Lagos High Court judgment which declared the government illegal and an aberration.

As we speak, Twenty five Federal High Court Judges and State High Court Judges are allegedly stewing in their own messes. The Judges are currently being interrogated on charges bothering on corruption, bribery, money laundering and abuse of office.


 A National Daily competent sources disclosed that the investigation of the 25 Judges is predicated by the alleged petition forwarded to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Mariam Aloma Muktar. CJN concerning the alleged corrupt practices of the Judges and copied the Chairman of Economic Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Lamorde.
aSources said in the alleged petition four Justice of the Appeal Court were accused of bribery and abuse of office amounting to over N5 billion. Five serving Federal High Court Judges and eight Judges across the country. “Punitive action will be taken against the affected Judges when they return from annual vacation. The CJN has been interacting with EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde in other to fine tune details of impending trial. CJN assured the petitioners that no stone will be left unturned in riding the nation of corruption.”
It was further learned that Justices of the Federal High Court and Chairman of Code of Conduct Tribunal, Justice Danladi Umar are also facing the EFCC over allegation of corruption, bribery, money laundering and abuse of public office. The affected Judges are currently telling the EFCC of what they know about N5 billion found in their account as Judicial Officers. The National Daily impeccable sources hinted that Nasarrawa Chief Judge, Suleiman Dikko may soon face the CJN over his alleged misconduct in the impeachment saga involving the governor, Tanko Al-Makura. It was learned that 20 members of the Nasarrawa State House of Assembly are writing a petition against Suleiman Dikoo raising 16 allegations against him.
While Al-Makura believe that the dismissal of the petition vindicated the lawmakers rejected the finding of the panel.
The 20 lawmakers are expected to submit the panel’s decision to the State House.

 The National Judicial Council which is charged by the same 1999 Constitution with the appointment and discipline of judges have always taken exception to action of judges who violate the otherwise clear provisions of the constitution, but since corruption, dubious activities and greed runs in the veins of most of our dishonourable learned colleagues, who fight on daily bases to portray that they’re honourable just like most politicians, they continue to act against every measures the council is adopting in order to inspire confidence from the people and honour for the body.

At an emergency meeting held at Abuja on December 20, 2006, the National Judicial Council, acting with powers vested in it by Paragraph 21(d) of the Third Schedule to the 1999 constitution suspended the Chief Judges of Anambra, Plateau and Ekiti states for the partisan roles played in the impeachment of the governors of their respective states.
Those suspended were Justices Chika Okoli (Anambra), Ya’u Dakwang (Plateau), and both the Chief Judges of Ekiti state, Justice Kayode Bamisile, and the former acting Chief Judge of the state, Justice Jide Aladejana. The suspension takes immediate effect.
Chuka Okoli, former Chief Judge of Anambra State, was placed on suspension by the council for what was considered to be his inglorious act in the controversial impeachment of Peter Obi as governor of the state. Before Governor Virginia Etiaba effected the decision of the council to appoint an acting Chief Judge, Okoli even tried to discountenance the directives of the NJC.
Justice Kayode Bamisile, his Ekiti State counterpart, was also sanctioned for similar misconduct. The former Chief Judge allegedly compromised himself by appointing on the investigation panel persons believed to be cronies of the then Governor Ayodele Fayose, to probe the impeachment allegations levelled against the governor. But Justice Jide Aladejana, who stepped into Bamisile’s shoes without due process, went down with his boss in line with the council’s recommendation.
Lazarus Dakyen, the Chief Judge of Plateau State, also lost his job because of his reluctance to be guided by law in his participation in the processes leading to the removal of Governor Joshua Dariye. Before them were Okechukwu Opene and D. A. Adeniji, who were indicted for taking bribe on the matter of the senatorial election in Anambra State. Though a former Attorney-General of the Federation, Akin Olujimi, (SAN), advised President Olusegun Obasanjo against their dismissal, the President upheld the decision of the NJC. Olujimi based his advice on the procedure adopted by the council in determining the case.
They are not the only judicial officers who fell victims of the political crisis in Anambra State. Stanley Nnaji, then a judge of Enugu State High Court, was suspended in March 2004 for wrongly assuming jurisdiction on a matter outside his state. The judge had ordered Tafa Balogun, then Inspector-General of police, to remove Chris Ngige, who was then the governor of Anambra State. Nnoruka Udechukwu, the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, petitioned the NJC, complaining that the ruling was in bad faith and against the code of conduct of judicial officers.
Nnaji was probably encouraged by the reluctance of the Federal Government to implement a similar decision of the council on Wilson Egbo-Egbo, another High Court judge, for granting an injunction directing Ngige to stop parading himself as the governor. But shortly after Nnaji was accused of misconduct, Obasanjo approved Egbo-Egbo’s retirement. The latter is one of the nine judges so far retired for endorsing unnecessary ex-parte applications.
 But they are not the only casualties of political cases.

Five others were implicated in the 2003 Election Petition Tribunal in Akwa Ibom State. They adjudicated on the petition against the re-election of Governor Victor Attah by Ime Umanah, candidate of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, at the election. By the time the NJC concluded its job, Matilda Adamu, a judge of the High Court of Plateau State, Christopher Senlong of the Federal High Court, Lagos, and James Isede, a chief magistrate in the Edo State judiciary, had earned themselves dismissal from the judiciary because political issues. D. T. Ahura of the High Court of Plateau State and A. M. Elelegwu of the Customary Court of Appeal, Delta State, were recommended for suspension. The Federal Government, after approving the verdict of the council on the judicial officers in February 2004, sent their case files to the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission for trial.
It on these grounds judges and Chief Judges who are involved in various political cases, especially as the 2015 general elections approach, are advised to learn from the eventualities
 which befell those of the past by doing justice in accordance with their oath.
Heads certainly will roll in the ongoing EFCC investigation of alleged corrupt Judges.
Some recitations FROM NATIONAL DAILY

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