29 November 2012

Nigeria: NJC Backs Salami, Asks Court to Dismiss Oyinlola's Suit

The National Judicial Council (NJC) has asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to dismiss the suit brought before it by the former Governor of Osun State, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, seeking to stop President Goodluck Jonathan from reinstating the suspended President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Isa Ayo Salami.

Oyinlola is asking the court to determine whether NJC's recommendation is not void considering the pendency of a suit filed by Salami on his removal and another filed by the Osun State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against Salami and two others.

He also wants the court to determine whether Jonathan can reinstate Salami while these suits are pending.

But in a counter-affidavit filed by its counsel Abdulkarim Kana, NJC said it was constitutionally empowered to reinstate a judicial officer it suspended and that the communication to the President with respect to Salami's suspension, recall and reinstatement was for ceremonial purpose only.

NJC said Oyinlola's suit was a witch-hunt against Salami, which arose as a result of the nullification of his election by the Governorship Election Appeal Tribunal in November 2010.

Moreover, NJC said Salami was never removed from office, as such there was no action in court filed by him challenging his removal, rather the suit is challenging the NJC's decision to suspend him while an action was pending before the court.

NJC asked the court to dismiss the suit as the former governor lacks the locus standi to institute it.

Justice Abdul Kafarati adjourned till January 24, 2013 to rule on whether or not to dismiss the suit.

Mentioned as defendants in the suit are the President and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) alongside the NJC.

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