Salami splits NJC members
DELIBERATIONS on the planned recall of the suspended President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Isa Salami by the National Judicial Council (NJC) continues today in Abuja.
The Council, which met on the matter yesterday, did not reach a consensus on it.
A source said the NJC leadership was given to the recall of Salami, but could not go ahead with it because of the disagreement among the members.
The Guardian learnt that the Council’s leadership later constituted a new committee to reconcile the grey areas, which made it difficult for a consensus to be reached on Salami.
Some members of NJC, who allegedly opposed Salami’s reinstatement, cited the pending suits, which he instituted and had still not withdrawn to pave way for true reconciliation.
But another participant at the meeting said no decision was taken on Salami as the meeting continues today.
He said that there was division among the members. While some were sympathetic to Salami and believed that he should be recalled so as to restore the credibility of the judiciary, loyalists of the former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu, allegedly kicked against it.
When contacted on the proceedings at the meeting, the NJC spokesman, Soji Oye, declined comments.
The 29-member stakeholders Judicial Reform Committee raised by the CJN, Justice Dahiru Musdapher, last October 14 had recommended Justice Salami’s reinstatement.
Salami was suspended by the NJC on August 18 last year after an emergency session.
Justice Musdapher raised the reform committee headed by a former CJN, Justice Muhammadu Uwais, to revisit the matter. .
A sub-committee of the panel, including Justice Mamman Nasir, Justice U. Kalgo and Justice Bola Ajibola asked the CJN and the NJC to reinstate Salami to his position.
The committee upheld the decisions of the sub-committee and recommended Justice Salami’s recall. .
Salami is in court challenging his suspension as the appellate court president.
Both the NJC and other defendants have joined issues with him. They have raised objections to the suit challenging the jurisdiction of the court to heart it.
The approach taken by the defendants had ensured that the case had not made any appreciable progress. Except the case is settled out of court, it could be difficult for Salami to obtain judgment before his retirement next year.
The Guardian learnt that Salami had been advised to withdraw the case from court to pave way for an amicable resolution of the dispute.
However, as at press time, no application to discontinue the suit had been filed.
Other recommendations of the Uwais panel, which may be considered by the NJC are:
• That the appointment of CJN from outside the rank of Justice of Supreme Court should be considered by the Federal Judicial Service Commission;
• the need to reform the system of appointment of judges by giving preference to courtroom experience and decision in legal practice;
• that number of years for which a legal practitioner needs to be qualified prior to consideration for appointment as a judge of the High Court should be increased from 10 years to a minimum of 15 years post-call experience, 20 years post-call experience for the Court of Appeal and 25 years post call experience for the Supreme Court.