SALAMI WILL NOT BE REINSTATED UNTIL… – ATTORNEY GENERAL
The Federal Government on Tuesday said it would not reinstate the suspended President of the Court of Appeal Justice Ayo Salami as recommended by the National Judicial Council until the court cases challenging his recall to office are resolved.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke made this revelation at a ministerial platform organised by the Federal Ministry of Information for cabinet ministers to showcase their achievements in the last one year.
Adoke, said the Federal Government received the resolution of the National Judicial Council recalling Mr. Salami on Friday, May 18, but added that the President could however not act on the resolution because a court process on the matter was also served on the government the same day.
He described reports of the President’s reluctance to reinstate Mr. Salami as a misconception, saying no responsible government would proceed to recall the Court of Appeal president when a case against his reinstatement is pending in court.
Adoke said “The matter is in court and no responsible government will try to overreach the court.”
“This government will do the right thing as soon as the judiciary puts its acts together.”
It would be recalled that Justice Ayo Salami was eight months ago suspended unconstitutionally in a politically motivated manner that brought the nation’s judiciary to disrepute. The NJC had reversed itself on Thursday, May 11 by a majority vote of 11 to 7 asking that Mr. Salami be reinstated to his office, but more than one week after the recommendation, he is yet to be returned to office.
By the terms of the constitution, his interim replacement cannot stay any longer on the seat, putting president Jonathan under pressure to make a quick decision.
Sources said some unnamed leaders of the president’s ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party, had reportedly pressured the president not to reinstate Mr. Salami, hinting that “elements opposed to the judge’s reinstatement appeared to be busy shopping for a court injunction restraining the NJC and the presidency from recalling Mr. Salami.”
An Abuja-based lawyer, Amobi Nzelu representing one Wilfred Okoli, had rushed to the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja Friday asking that the court restrains the president from accepting the recommendations of the NJC, because the “recommendations were not binding” on the president and that while the NJC had powers to recommend the removal of the President of the Court of Appeal, it lacked power to recommend his reinstatement.