BY Abdulwahab Abdulah & Areguamen Oamen
As the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, is putting finishing touches to the probe of allegations of corruption levelled against the leadership of the Supreme Court and that of the Court of Appeal, as some concerned lawyers, yesterday, staged a protest demanding that both men step aside pending the conclusion of the probe.
The placards-carrying lawyers, who addressed journalists in front of the High Court, Ikeja, said except Justices Aloysius Kastina-Alu and his Appeal Court counterpart, Justice Ayo Salami, step aside, the NBA probe panel or other panel may not be free to conduct thorough investigations of corrupt practices leveled against the high echelon of the bench.
Led by Mr. Malachy Ugwummadu, the lawyers condemned the alleged corruption in the judiciary.
They said: “We, the concerned members of this profession, conscious of the implication of this development and thoroughly scandalised by this sordid revelations, now called on Justices Kastina-Alu and Ayo Salami to step aside from their respective offices forthwith to allow for a full scale independent judicial panel of inquiry to probe the allegations against them.”
They argued that this is compelling while commending the leadership of the NBA “for boldly identifying the CJN/PCA face_off as a ‘debilitating corruption’ eating into and corroding the entire judicial system.”
They observed that the recent inaugurated Conflict Resolution Committee, CRC by the NJC are not far reaching enough to moderate the tendencies and resolved the contradictions that are already thrown up by the corrupt allegations.
They added, “We are convinced, as we are bound to, that the proposed investigations and probes by all the relevant bodies in the judiciary will be ineffective and ineffectual for as long as both the CJN and the CPA continue to occupy their respective positions.”
They therefore urged both men to tow the line of honor and honorably step aside from their offices or it will become an obligation on them to call on the President and the Senate to invoke Section 292 (1) (a) (i) of the 1999 constitution and remove them from office.