The former president of the Court of Appeal, retired justice Ayo Salami has said that his refusal to stand justice on its head led to his suspension as the President of the Court of Appeal in August 2011.
Justice Salami made this revelation Sunday, in Abuja, as a lead recipient of the maiden edition of the “Integrity Awards,” powered by the Youth Alive Foundation, an anti-corruption non-governmental organisation.
Justice Salami explained that, there were moves by some highly placed persons to bribe the panel of justices of the Appeal Court he set up to hear an election case, the inability to have their way, gave rise to my ordeal as the president of Appeal Court in 2011.
“Some people wanted to bribe the members of the panel of justices I setup to hear a petition, unfortunately, two of my colleagues agreed to take the bribe. I will not mention their names here. One of the panelists was a woman of blessed memory, Mrs Nwodo, she refused to take the bribe and her husband, John Nwodo backed her up that he will not interfere in the matter.
“Also, Justice Paul Adamu Galinje refused to take the bribe; he is at the Supreme Court today by the grace of God. Justice John Inyang Okoro, the man who presented this award to me was on that panel. He was approached but he did not take the bribe. If he had accepted the filthy lucre, the judgement would have gone the other way, because it would have three justices against two, which is why the judgement was never delivered at the Court of Appeal.
“The Supreme Court that had no jurisdiction at that time to deal with election petition matters, assumed jurisdiction unconstitutionally and illegally. The Supreme Court panel headed by Justice Mahmud Muhammed, one of the immediate past Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, heard the matter (the appeal by Wamakko and his group). They appointed Justice Mahmud Muhammed to write the lead judgement. He was writing the lead judgement, when they approach him (for proper consideration), which he turned down.”
Justice Salami revealed that the said case was later abandoned, insisting it was a trying period for the Nigerian judiciary.
Other award recipients are the publisher of the Daily Nigerian, Jafa’ar Jafa’ar and the president of Human Right Radio, Ahmed Isa. Others are Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) Francis Osaghie Erhabor, Nasir Salisu Zango of Freedom Radio, Kano; Ayodele Sikiru Adeloju of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC); Mallam Mu’azu Yusif of Department of Political Science, Bayero University, Kano and other.
On the motivation for instating the awards, the executive director of Youth Alive Foundation, Dr Udy Okon said, the narrative on corruption in Nigeria has adversely affected the image of the country.
She explained that by honouring Nigerians that dared to be different, more people will be encouraged to do the right thing.
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