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I Won’t Withdraw My Case Until I’m Rei-nstated - Salami
Won’t Withdraw My Case Until I’m Rei-nstated - Salami
Justice Ayo Salami, who on Thursday got some reprieve when the National Judicial Council (NJC) asked that he be reinstated as President of the Court of Appeal, has vowed not to Withdraw the Case he filed against the council Until he is returned to office.
Salami was suspended by the NJC nine months ago for refusing to apologise to the council and former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu, after an NJC panel said he breached the code of conduct by lying against the council.
But the NJC rose from a meeting two days ago in Abuja with a resolution that he be reinstated.
Justice Salami, however, said Friday night through his lawyer, Chief Akinlolu Olujinmi (SAN), that the Case he instituted against the NJC in the wake of his sack would remain Until he is reinstated.
Olujinmi said in a telephone interview with THISDAY that the Case would remain Until his client was reinstated.
NJC had suspended Justice Salami on August 18, 2011. The sub-committee of the council headed by the Chief Justice of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, in its report on the controversy between Salami and former CJN Katsina-Alu, recommended that Salami should tender a written apology to both Katsina-Alu and NJC.
The Auta committee also recommended that Salami be cautioned following which a letter of caution was sent to him.
The committee had found Salami in breach of Rule 1(1) of the code of conduct for judicial officers.
When it dawned on him that he was going to be suspended, Salami filed a suit at the Federal High Court in Abuja seeking to stop the council from going ahead with the decision.
In the suit, Salami prayed the court to set aside the decision of President Goodluck Jonathan from appointing an acting president for the Court of Appeal, since the President was aware that he was in court challenging the NJC’s decision upon which the President based his appointment of an acting president for the court.
He also asked the court to set aside the decision of the NJC reached on 18th August, 2011, purporting to suspend him from office as the President of the Court of Appeal, recommending him to President Jonathan to be retired from service and also directing him to hand over to Hon. Justice Dalhatu Adamu.
He further asked for an order nullifying any action or step taken or being taken in the implementation or further implementation of the said decision and for the court to restore the status quo ante as at the date the said decision was taken by the NJC.
Salami had earlier filed a suit wherein he asked the court to set aside the proceeding and findings of the investigation panel headed by Justice Umaru Abdullahi retired and the recommendation of the panel headed by Justice Ibrahim Auta.
He asked the court to declare that the setting up of the NJC Investigation Committee and its composition were in gross violation of the principles of natural justice, and his constitutionally-guaranteed right to fair hearing under Section 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and is therefore unconstitutional, null and void.
He listed as defendants the following: the National judicial Council; Hon. Justice Dahiru Musdapher; Hon. Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu; Hon. Justice Umaru Abdullahi; Hon. Justice Emmanuel Ayoola; Hon. Justice Dominic Edozie; Hon. Justice Michael Akpiroroh; Mrs. Rakia Sarki Ibrahim; Hon. Justice Ibrahim Ndahi Auta; Hon. Justice Kate Abiri; and Hon. Justice Peter Umeadi.
Although the Case was filed and served on the NJC, the council apparently ignored the court’s processes and went ahead to suspend him.
This prompted him to file another case. In the later case, he asked the court to restrain the Senate from acting on the recommendation of the NJC suspending him from office as a judicial officer.
In the new suit in which the Senate President, the Clerk of the National Assembly, the National Assembly, the Attorney-General of the Federation and NJC were made parties, Salami is seeking an interlocutory injunction to stop the implementation of the NJC’s recommendation.
Other defendants are the then Deputy Chairman of the NJC, Justice Dahiru Musdapher, and the then Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu.
He asked the court for an interlocutory injunction restraining the defendants from taking any step directly or indirectly in consequence or in implementation of the recommendation of the NJC made at its meeting held in Abuja on 18th August, 2011 pending the determination of the substantive suit before the court.
He also asked the court to set aside the recommendation of the NJC against him.
Salami prayed the court for an order directing that all actions in respect of the subject matter of this suit be stayed and that the status quo ante bellum be maintained by all parties to this Case pending the determination of the substantive suit.
Although all the parties had joined issues, Salami later asked the Federal High Court to refer the Case to the Court of Appeal for determination of certain issues.
Justice Donatus Okorowo agreed with Salami’s counsel, Chief Akinlolu Olujinmi (SAN) and transferred the Case for the determination of whether he (Okorowo) has the jurisdiction to hear the case.
The judge also stayed further proceedings pending the determination of the questions by the Court of Appeal.
As at press time, the Case is still before Salami’s colleagues at the Court of Appeal.
Delivering ruling in the application to transfer the case, Justice Okorowo noted that the parties were in agreement that the question on jurisdiction be submitted to the Court of Appeal for determination.
He had said: "Other questions are not strictly issues of jurisdiction, those questions required proof, but it is premature to go into them now, the issue of jurisdiction must be determined first.
"I therefore hold that this application succeeds in part, the Court of Appeal should determine whether it is the Federal High Court or the National Industrial Court (NIC) that has the jurisdiction to entertain the suit.
"The order seeking to stay proceeding pending the determination of the issue of jurisdiction is also granted".
I Won’t Withdraw My Case Until I’m Rei-nstated - Salami
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