Attack On Appeal Court Judges: Sahara Reporters Must Apologize To Justice Alfa Belgore And Nigerians
By Bashir Akanbi
No doubt, one of the beauties of democracy anywhere in the world is its accommodation and recognition of freedom of speech; but of course, not without attaching strict punishment to slander, libel and sedition. In this part of the world however, the act of slandering and lashing people of integrity with false accusations without verification is often allowed to go on without restraints, to the point where it has become part of life.
Without a doubt, society grows with the full effect and complementary functions of the three arms of government and in such a way that one’s role doesn’t affect the other. The Judiciary as the third arm of government, after the Executive and Legislature, is seen as the last hope of the common man. To this end, such important arm shouldn’t be dragged into any form of political chicanery that will rubbish its important activities.
It is important to note that the Judiciary does not exist on mere theoretical grandstand, without the inputs of men and women of integrity who have, through their commitment and judicial sagacity, given the arm the independence, inviolability and integrity it currently enjoys. To say the least, such men and women shouldn’t be dragged in the mud, to score cheap political points. That said, there is no gainsaying the fact that Retired Justice Alfa Belgore, a former Chief Justice of Nigeria, is one of these great men.
To set the records straight, Justice Alfa Belgore remains a man of high reputation who has put in several years of service in the judiciary, and without any accusation of judicial manipulation against his person before, during or after his tenure as CJN. He is exemplary and known for his consistently unwavering contributions towards revamping Nigeria’s judicial system since the beginning of his career.
Nevertheless, Sahara Reporters, a politically sponsored online platform who has unashamedly sold its soul to the devil, apparently has never relented in its pursuit of spreading falsehoods. This platform has left a lot of Nigerians spoon-fed with erroneous submissions and lies in recent times, as tools to protect the interest of its sponsors.
How on earth could this politically sponsored online medium drag Justice Belgore to the political war between the Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Senator Bukola Saraki and Bola Tinubu? Nigerians are aware of the politics of “pull him down” being bandied around by the enemies of progress against the Senate President since his emergence on June 9, 2015 against the will of some cabals in the APC setup.
The ongoing political monkeyshines is well understood by many and with the dimension it has taken right from the beginning, we cannot be cajoled into sympathizing with those who are ready to bring shame to the judiciary by running helter-skelter to buy the judiciary to persecute the Senate President so that Nigerians will think it is a war on corruption.
Sahara Reporters planned to preempt the outcome of the judgment in the Saraki case at the appellate court, where he challenged the jurisdiction of the Code of Conduction Tribunal to try him without following due processes, by saying Alfa Belgore tried to influence the judges involved in the trial. How else can that claim be described other than crass?
Of course, with the show of shame by the Appeal Court President, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, who acted unprofessionally to adjourn indefinitely a case of international interest based on speculation by an online platform in the hand of politicians who are indeed the enemies of this nation, one could join other discerning Nigerians to believe that Bola Tinubu has more than half of federal justices on his payroll, Justice Zainab being one.
The manner of the adjournment was not only unethical, as Judges did not appear despite their earlier promises to speed up the judgment, but also suspicious as CCT’s lawyers did not show up in Court; to further allude to the fact that they had privy information.
With this, it is safe to state the obvious that Sahara Reporters is a platform with absolute disrespect for staunch patriots like the former CJN whose entire breathing upholds the sanctity of the court and sanity of judicial processes. The question remains how Sahara Reporters came across the outcome of the case that’s awaiting the judges’ pronouncement? There should be more to it than meet the eyes.
The other question that comes to mind, whose answer is not far-fetched anyway, is why there always exist bias and fabrications of falsehood in Sahara Reporters’ news on the Senate President? Case in point is the forged “Olybukola Saraki” International Passport which the UK authority have investigated and confirmed it was indeed forged.
Definitely the rumour that circulated that Tinubu, who said he would never regard Saraki as Senate President, has specially contracted one of his bankrolled sons and owner of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore is nearing accuracy. Since the inauguration of the 8th Senate that saw Saraki emerge the Senate President, Sahara Reporters have been found cooking up one lie or the other against him.
One thing Sowore and his sponsors have failed to realize is that the more they lash out at him, the stronger he becomes politically as their perpetual slandering and seditious antics have given them away as paid agent. The fact remains that the Senate is a no-go area with the Vote of Confidence on his leadership.
With the diversionary approach in the scheme of their attack strategy, Sahara Reporters should and must specifically apologize to the symbol of justice and icon of fairness, former Chief Justice of the Federation, Retired Justice Alfa Belgore, for attempting to malign and drag his hard-earned reputation in the mud where they belong. The unreserved apology should also be addressed to all Nigerians for the uncountable lies against their paymasters’ perceived political enemies like Senator Bukola Saraki.
It is a known fact that the platform is used as a medium to undermine Nigeria’s political system. They have been known for being bereft of basic media ethics and professionalism, for which Nigerians are now aware.
On this basis therefore it is advised, for moral reasons, that people should disregard “news” from them.
Bashir Akanbi writes from Lagos