Fellow judges, NJC did evil to me –Salami

 

Retired President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami

Retired President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami

Retired President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami, on Thursday said fellow judges as well as the National Judicial Council betrayed him in the twilight of his career, especially after his suspension by the NJC.

Salami likened his travails to that of the Biblical Joseph, who was sold into slavery by members of his family.

He said, “The last three years of my career were dogged by travails which are not dissimilar to the fate of Joseph in the book of Genesis in the Bible.

“As his brothers conspired to destroy him by throwing him into a well and selling him into slavery, my learned brothers and friends in the legal profession planned and executed doing evil to me.”

He spoke at a valedictory session organised to mark his retirement from the Court of Appeal.

The retired PCA was suspended after a clash with the then Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu.

He was still serving the suspension until he left the service, having reached the mandatory retirement age of 70 years.

Justice Salami informed the gathering, which included top serving and retired judicial officers that the NJC sold out to the Executive and failed in its duties and functions.

He said, “The National Judicial Council created by the Constitution to protect me, nay any judicial officer was on the vanguard of my travails. The NJC failed in its duties and thereby surrendered its functions to the Executive arm of government thus, ingratiate itself to the Executive.

“For instance, the NJC, having cleared me of any wrongdoing, following the recommendations of Justice Aloma Mukhtar’s committee, ought to have recalled me to office without asking the President to exercise the power that he does not possess, on the flimsy excuse that it had earlier referred the matter to him.

“In truth, as a matter of courtesy, all it needed to do was to write the President that in view of its recent decision, this matter was now outside his purview.

“After so informing him, NJC would be free to take the necessary step to implement its decision.”

Continuing, Justice Salami said, “The position in which NJC has found itself is similar to that of the proverbial cock that betrayed itself to the fox that what was on his head was not fire and encouraged the fox to touch it.

“The fox, having satisfied itself that truly it was not fire, has since been hunting cocks to make menu of them.

“Also, when the report of the committee the NJC set up to make recommendation on Umaru Abdullahi’s report was submitted to it for ratification, neither the CJN nor the next most senior Justice of the Supreme Court was present at the meeting.

“Justice Moses A. Bello, who was neither the CJN nor the most senior Justice of the Supreme Court, took it upon himself to preside at the meeting contrary to the express provisions of sub-paragraph (a) and (b) of paragraph 20 of the Third Schedule of the Constitution.

“No other members of the NJC, including statutory members, could be chairman.”

The retired judge noted that Justice Bello was an impostor for claiming to be the Acting Chairman of NJC in the two letters he (Justice Bello) wrote to him, dated August 9 and 18, 2011.

This, he said, was because Bello was “neither a Justice of the Supreme Court, next most senior Justice of the court nor the CJN.”

He also accused the Council of treating matters of national importance with levity.

“This is the levity with which the NJC treats matters of national importance. Clearly, Justice Bello has not only behaved irresponsibly, but also recklessly,” he said.

He pointed out that the NJC took the decision to suspend him when his application for an order restraining the Council from deliberating on his case was pending before the Federal High Court.

Arguing that the matter was sub judice, he said, “It is this illegal decision that the NJC had been relying upon to keep me out of office from August 18, 2011.”

Salami noted that the Council treated him in a most cruel manner, employing all manner of tricks to sustain his suspension.

He said, “The NJC, a body set up to protect judicial officers, has dealt so cruelly with me.”

But he insisted that he had no regrets for his actions.

“I have no regret whatsoever over all that I did, having acted according to the dictate of my conscience and in the fear of Almighty God.

“I swore to uphold the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and to do justice to all manner of people without fear or favour; God has helped me so to do.”

Acting President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, praised Justice Salami for his achievements in office.

The President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Okey Wali, SAN, who was represented by Sunday Ameh, SAN, urged the Bar and Bench to reject attempts to compromise the independence of the Judiciary.

The Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, SAN, was absent at the event and was not represented.

Adoke had advised Jonathan not to approve the NJC’s decision to reinstate Justice Salami on the grounds that the matter was sub judice.

The CJN, Justice Aloma Mukhtar; a former CJN, Justice Mohammed Uwais; Justice Mahmood Mohammed of the Supreme Court; and the President of the National Industrial Court, Justice Babatunde Adejumo, were among the dignitaries at the event.

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Fellow judges, NJC did evil to me –Salami

 

Retired President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami

Retired President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami

Retired President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami, on Thursday said fellow judges as well as the National Judicial Council betrayed him in the twilight of his career, especially after his suspension by the NJC.

Salami likened his travails to that of the Biblical Joseph, who was sold into slavery by members of his family.

He said, “The last three years of my career were dogged by travails which are not dissimilar to the fate of Joseph in the book of Genesis in the Bible.

“As his brothers conspired to destroy him by throwing him into a well and selling him into slavery, my learned brothers and friends in the legal profession planned and executed doing evil to me.”

He spoke at a valedictory session organised to mark his retirement from the Court of Appeal.

The retired PCA was suspended after a clash with the then Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu.

He was still serving the suspension until he left the service, having reached the mandatory retirement age of 70 years.

Justice Salami informed the gathering, which included top serving and retired judicial officers that the NJC sold out to the Executive and failed in its duties and functions.

He said, “The National Judicial Council created by the Constitution to protect me, nay any judicial officer was on the vanguard of my travails. The NJC failed in its duties and thereby surrendered its functions to the Executive arm of government thus, ingratiate itself to the Executive.

“For instance, the NJC, having cleared me of any wrongdoing, following the recommendations of Justice Aloma Mukhtar’s committee, ought to have recalled me to office without asking the President to exercise the power that he does not possess, on the flimsy excuse that it had earlier referred the matter to him.

“In truth, as a matter of courtesy, all it needed to do was to write the President that in view of its recent decision, this matter was now outside his purview.

“After so informing him, NJC would be free to take the necessary step to implement its decision.”

Continuing, Justice Salami said, “The position in which NJC has found itself is similar to that of the proverbial cock that betrayed itself to the fox that what was on his head was not fire and encouraged the fox to touch it.

“The fox, having satisfied itself that truly it was not fire, has since been hunting cocks to make menu of them.

“Also, when the report of the committee the NJC set up to make recommendation on Umaru Abdullahi’s report was submitted to it for ratification, neither the CJN nor the next most senior Justice of the Supreme Court was present at the meeting.

“Justice Moses A. Bello, who was neither the CJN nor the most senior Justice of the Supreme Court, took it upon himself to preside at the meeting contrary to the express provisions of sub-paragraph (a) and (b) of paragraph 20 of the Third Schedule of the Constitution.

“No other members of the NJC, including statutory members, could be chairman.”

The retired judge noted that Justice Bello was an impostor for claiming to be the Acting Chairman of NJC in the two letters he (Justice Bello) wrote to him, dated August 9 and 18, 2011.

This, he said, was because Bello was “neither a Justice of the Supreme Court, next most senior Justice of the court nor the CJN.”

He also accused the Council of treating matters of national importance with levity.

“This is the levity with which the NJC treats matters of national importance. Clearly, Justice Bello has not only behaved irresponsibly, but also recklessly,” he said.

He pointed out that the NJC took the decision to suspend him when his application for an order restraining the Council from deliberating on his case was pending before the Federal High Court.

Arguing that the matter was sub judice, he said, “It is this illegal decision that the NJC had been relying upon to keep me out of office from August 18, 2011.”

Salami noted that the Council treated him in a most cruel manner, employing all manner of tricks to sustain his suspension.

He said, “The NJC, a body set up to protect judicial officers, has dealt so cruelly with me.”

But he insisted that he had no regrets for his actions.

“I have no regret whatsoever over all that I did, having acted according to the dictate of my conscience and in the fear of Almighty God.

“I swore to uphold the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and to do justice to all manner of people without fear or favour; God has helped me so to do.”

Acting President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, praised Justice Salami for his achievements in office.

The President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Okey Wali, SAN, who was represented by Sunday Ameh, SAN, urged the Bar and Bench to reject attempts to compromise the independence of the Judiciary.

The Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, SAN, was absent at the event and was not represented.

Adoke had advised Jonathan not to approve the NJC’s decision to reinstate Justice Salami on the grounds that the matter was sub judice.

The CJN, Justice Aloma Mukhtar; a former CJN, Justice Mohammed Uwais; Justice Mahmood Mohammed of the Supreme Court; and the President of the National Industrial Court, Justice Babatunde Adejumo, were among the dignitaries at the event.

Six-year-old boy dies in Lagos building fire

 

The damaged building

The damaged building
| credits: File copy

A six-year-old boy identified as Abiodun, lost his life after fire razed 11 rooms in a compound located on Ogundele Street in the Ifako, Gbagada area of Lagos State.

The incident was said to have occurred around 9.30pm on Tuesday.

Although the actual cause of fire could not be ascertained as of press time, residents told our correspondent that they believed that the fire was caused by a lighted candle.

When PUNCH Metro visited the scene of the incident on Wednesday afternoon, smoke continued to emanate from some of the burnt items.

Burnt books, beds, doors, televisions and other items littered the area as residents toured the building.

A resident in the compound, whose room was not affected because it was detached from the main building, said the fire started during the premiership football match between Arsenal and Chelsea.

The occupant, Michael Olujimi, said most of them were at a viewing centre when the fire started.

He said, “Most of us were at a viewing centre in the next compound, watching the match when we saw smoke billowing from our compound. We all rushed back but the fire was already intense.

“The youths in the area got buckets of water and tried to douse the flames but it continued to rage. At that point, we did not know that  Abiodun was inside one of the rooms because most of us were outside.”

A resident, who did not identify himself, told PUNCH Metro that the little boy’s parents had gone to church while his elder brother did not inform them on time that the deceased was inside the room.

A landlord in the area, Sunday Ogundele stressed the  the need for government disaster management agencies to improve on its response time.

He said, “A fire truck from Lagos State Fire Service arrived but they left because there was no water. When the fire was about spreading to another compound, one of my tenants, who works at the Federal Medical Centre, Oyingbo, called the Federal Fire Service which is close to the hospital but they did not come.

“He then had to drive down to Oyingbo to lead them here. They finally came around 11pm and doused the flames but by then, the deed had been done.”

Abiodun was reportedly  buried at Atan Cemetery, Yaba.

Director, Lagos State Fire Service, Razaq Fadipe,  however, denied the allegations.

He said, “Two fire trucks from Ilupeju and Ikeja with 10,000 litres each responded. They were busy fighting the fire on their own. A journalist and a fireman that live in the area, were the ones that first called our attention to it and we have evidence to show that we responded on time.”

Jonathan, Amaechi, Dickson hold secret talks

 

Governor Rotimi Amaechi and President Goodluck Jonathan

Governor Rotimi Amaechi and President Goodluck Jonathan

THERE were indications that President Goodluck Jonathan, the Rivers State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, and his Bayelsa State counterpart, Mr. Seriake  Dickson, on Thursday had a closed-door meeting in Rivers State.

The venue and agenda of the meeting were not clear as at the time of sending this report.

However, sources said the ongoing feud between the Peoples Democratic Party and the seven rebel governors loyal to the NewPDP could be part of the discussion.

It was gathered that Amaechi and Dickson flew in the same chopper with Jonathan from the Port Harcourt International Airport to Okrika in Rivers State, where the remains of the President’s wife’s foster mother, late Mrs. Charity Oba, would be buried today (Friday).

A Government House source said Jonathan, Amaechi and Dickson might have met in the private residence of the President’s wife, Patience.

The source explained that the President, Amaechi and the Bayelsa State governor could cash in on the opportunity provided by the burial of Jonathan’s in-law to resolve their political differences.

Also, the Chief Press Secretary to the Rivers State Governor, Mr. David Iyofor, told The PUNCH that only Amaechi and Dickson, who were at the airport to receive the President, flew with him (Jonathan) in the chopper to Okrika.

Iyofor, however, said he could not ascertain if the President and the two governors had gone into a closed-door meeting when they got to Okrika.

“Governor Amaechi and the Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, received the President at the Port Harcourt International Airport and the two governors joined the President in a chopper to Okrika.

“I am aware that they (Jonathan, Amaechi and Dickson) flew to Okrika in a chopper, but what I cannot say for now is whether they went into a closed-door meeting,” Iyofor said.

The PDP had been embroiled in a lingering crisis, which led to the emergence of the Alhaji Kawu Baraje-ledNew PDP.

However, ahead of the burial of the late Oba, security was beefed up around Okrika Local Government Area with soldiers, policemen and security operatives from other agencies stationed at different points to forestall any possible breakdown of law and order.

Men, Stay Away From Wives’ breasts While chest Feeding

 

Men have been advised to stay away from their wives’ br**sts while the latter are chest feeding their children. It is necessary to avoid causing wounds on the br**sts and exposing the children to infection.

Professor Angela Oyo Ita, the Cross River State Commissioner for Health during the 2013 chest Feeding Week at Akpabuyo local Government Area of the state on Tuesday, stated that men, who share their wives’ br**sts while they are chest feeding could inflict wound on the br**sts and if the woman is HIV positive, the infection could transfer to the child.

Professor Oyo Ita, represented by the Director Nutrition of the Ministry of Health, Mrs Regina Adie, urged women to practice exclusive chest feeding as chest milk contains 80% of water and 20% of minerals needed for the child’s growth and for keeping the baby healthy and strong.

She said myths that a child that is exclusively fed on chest milk for six months would at some point die out of thirst is not true because beast milk contains enough water to keep the child happy and satisfied.

“Some time ago, we came here and had a meeting with the men and called on them to support their wives to carry out exclusive chest feeding for their children and the men said no because the children would die from the thirst for water, but that is not true”.

What is more, according to her words, during the chest feeding mother-child relationships become stronger and closer.

Mrs Rosemary Effiong, the Chairman of Akpabuyo Local Government Area, represented by the Secretary of Council, Mr Edem Okon, added the council would continue providing the required support for mothers by means of financial empowerment to enable them feed well to chest feed their children.b

APC In Kano To Woo Kwankwaso

 

The delegation led by General Muhammadu Buhari are on the mission to visit all aggrieved PDP governors and top politicians who are ready to join their train.

The campaign which commenced from Kano will take the APC leaders to Jigawa and other fertile states that have lost touch with the style of politics and leadership in the PDP.

The Interim National Chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande during the visit noted that, “we decided to come to you to solidarize with you because we know you are of great mind; and that is why some of you are being persecuted in your political party.”

Iin his words, “wherever small minds are in sour, great minds are persecuted; so in recognition of this, in this wisdom, the leaders of the APC decided to come and lure you to join the progressive party.”

“We are proud to showcase our own party, the APC as a platform and a soft-ground for great minds like you; and for that reason, we decided to come and let you know that we have plenty rooms in APC for great minds.

“Our coming to Kano has shown us the tremendous transformation that has taken place in Kano metropolis. These are the type of things we want governors of APC to be able to do just like the ones in Lagaos, Edo, Osun, Ekiti and everywhere—and when we see such type of development in Kano, we are always proud of you. On behalf of my party, the APC, Mr. Governor, we are here as campaigners in politics which is not about individuals, it is about the unity and progress of Nigeria. We invite you to look favourably to our party.”

Also speaking, General Muhammadu Buhari, said, “we are in Kano to lure you into APC and we I am also here with my colleagues, and the governors from other states, to convince you firstly, that we feel very uncomfortable about Kano not coming along with us.

“We are here on a tough and ruthless recruitment drive, we are people-oriented party and our concern is about our people and Nigeria. What APC is fundamentally going to do is to secure and effectively manage this country when we secure power.”

Buhari, however, said, “I am very grateful to governor Kwankwaso for his courage, alertness and congratulate him for his luck, because not so many people get the opportunity to correct whatever mistake they think they have made, he was a governor, we voted him out, he quietly went to the Ministry of Defence, and came back and got elected. So, he is a very lucky person, it is not the red-cap that gave him the victory, it is his stars. So, our in our bid to get Kano back, we enjoin the governor to join us to deliver this country; and by the mercy of God, we shall succeed.”

Imo state Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha who spoke on behalf of the APC governors boasted that in 2015, “victory has been signed and sealed for the APC.

“ We have come to invite you, our brother, into this movement. APC is not a political party, per se, it is a movement, a movement of change.  We are people, carefully, selected by God. We’ll assure you as our colleagues that governors in APC are accorded their due respect. I want to assure you that you are coming to a place you rightfully belong.”

Kwankwaso, however, expressed surprise that APC leadership could send such a high-powered delegation to invite him into the party, adding  that, “ we have listened to you very attentively; we have heard what you said and I feel elated that people of these caliber sat down and decided to visit us for this purpose—this shows that we are important.

“Immediately you leave this place, I will sit down with the stakeholders because this party belongs to all of us. The Kwankwasiyya Movement is not a one-man show. No member of the Kwankwasiyya Movement does it alone. We are working as a team and this team is strong and capable enough to win elections in 2015. By the grace of God, our group will continue to grow from strength to strength.

“If you are expecting me to say yes or no to your offer now, you will not get it because we have to sit down as one family and weigh the challenges; and at the end of the day, we will communicate you through General Buhari.”

However, the APC leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in an interview with journalists after the event allayed the fear that the conspicuous absence of former Governor Ibrahim Shekarau to the event could mean that all was not well with APC in Kano, saying, “I am not sure that he is available for this meeting, but there is no problem.”

Among the APC bigwigs that visited Kano include Lagos state governor, Babatunde Rraji Fashola, Ekiti state governor, Kayode Fayemi, Imo stste governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Nuhu Ribadu, Chief Bisi Akande, former Speaker of House of Representatives, Aminu Bello Masari, Senator George Akume, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, Lai Mohammed, General Muhammadu Buhari, former Deputy Governor, Kano state, Abdullahi Tijani Gwarzo, former lawmaker, Farouk Adamu Aliyu, former governor of Edo state, John Oyegu, former ANPP national chairman, Yusuf Ali, former labour Minister Musa Gwadabe, Kasim Imam, Senator Nazit and Senator Annie Okonkwo.

I came to Lagos for pipeline vandalism –Boy, 15

 

The suspects with Ibrahim at the centre

The suspects with Ibrahim at the centre

Fifteen-year-old Sani Musa on Thursday shocked onlookers during a parade by policemen attached to the Inspector General of Police Special Task Force on Anti-Pipeline Vandalism, when he confessed that he had travelled to Lagos from Jos for the sole purpose of engaging in pipeline vandalism.

Musa was arrested alongside three others -Chibuzor Okorie, Musa Adamu and Aminu Suleiman- with a truck as well as 200 kegs of 50 litres of diesel, which was allegedly siphoned from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation pipeline in the Sagamu area of Ogun State.

The teenage suspect told PUNCH Metro that it was his quest for a better life that got him into the business of pipeline vandalism.

He said due to the poverty in his family as well as the unrest in Jos, his father advised him to travel to Lagos where he would easily make money.

Sani said, “My family could barely feed and there was no money for my education. My father advised me when I was 14 that I was old enough to travel down to Lagos and make money for the family.

“He called one of my relatives, Alhaji Sherrif, who is a businessman in Lagos that he wanted him to show me the way and Alhaji told me about the business (pipeline vandalism).

“As soon as I arrived, Alhaji Sheriff said I should join him as a conductor in his business. He buys and sells diesel and other products to drivers and most of them are got from our suppliers at Sagamu.

“He told me the implication of the business and the danger in case of arrest. He was the one that advised me to say that I am a student and had just arrived Lagos few weeks ago in case the police accosted me. My duty is just to serve as a conductor attached to one of his drivers.

“I never joined them when they went into the bush; all I did, was to stand by the roadside, watch out for security personnel and alert them. Our duty is strictly to carry the product and deliver it to Mile 12, where we have tanks. He pays me N2,000 per trip which is a lot of money.

“I am terribly sorry; it’s just that I promised to change the fortunes of my family. I am sorry, please forgive me and give me another chance to return back to school. I am still in primary four.”

Another suspect, Okorie, who claimed to be 44, told PUNCH Metro that he had contacts that monitored NNPC and alerted him whenever fuel was being pumped into the pipelines.

He said he usually sold adulterated diesel to suppliers at the cost of N4, 500 for 50 litres.

“At the end of the day it will be sold at N6,000 to retailers who are always on a standby because of the price at which it is sold. On a part time basis, we also work with a group of vandals who assists us in collecting fuel from pipelines,” he said.

Assistant Commissioner of Police, Friday Ibadin, who is in charge of the task force, said the suspects were arrested on October 17, 2013 around Sagamu through the cooperation of the community.