23 November 2012

Nigeria: New Appeal Court President Named, As NJC Slams Door Against Salami

Abuja — The suspended President, Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami, may not return to his job so soon, as President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday approved the nomination of Justice Zainab A. Bulkachuwa as the acting president of the court.

Justice Bulkachuwa of the Yola Division of the court will replace Justice Dalhatu Adamu, who was appointed into the position in August 2011 following Justice Salami's suspension over allegations of "gross misconduct".

Justice Adamu's appointment as acting president of the court will expire today.

Justice Bulkachuwa, who was recommended for the job by the National Judicial Council (NJC), becomes the first woman to hold the position, albeit, in an interim capacity.

In her capacity as the head of the Yola Division of the Court of Appeal, Justice Bulkachuwa delivered the judgment dismissing the appeal by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), challenging the return of Alhaji Murtala Nyako of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the duly elected governor of Adamawa State.

Her recommendation by the NJC, which in May had advised Jonathan to recall Salami, is a tacit admission by the council that the beleaguered jurist would remain at home pending the determination of the plethora of suits concerning his suspension.

A statement by NJC's Deputy Director, Information, Mr Soji Oye, said Justice Bulkachuwa would be sworn in today.

Justice Salami was axed by the NJC on August 18, 2011, over allegations of "gross misconduct' as well as refusal to apologise to former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu.

His suspension continues despite the NJC's recommendation to Jonathan for his reinstatement.

In justifying the president's refusal to recall Justice Salami, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke (SAN), had said all cases pending in various courts on the matter must be disposed of first before any action could be taken by the Federal Government.

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