Saraki: CJN defends A’Court, issues PDP stern warning

By Amako Nneji October 21, 2015 11:08

Saraki: CJN defends A’Court, issues PDP stern warning

In the light of the standing trial of Senate President, Bukola Saraki, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Mahmud Mohammed has warned the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to tread with caution, while unduly interfering in cases that are before the judiciary.

Mohammed who stated this Monday night through his media aide, Ahuraka Isah, warned that “Somebody has to counsel Metuh to avoid treading where he has limited knowledge, because Judiciary is not where one makes allegations without proofs.”

Earlier, the PDP’s National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, in a press statement alleged that the Court of Appeal had been meddling in court cases with a view to swaying them in favour of the All Progressives Congress, APC.

Metuh’s statement came on the heels of the unprofessional conduct of the Appeal Court Justices while adjourning indefinitely the case of Saraki.

Saraki’s appeal was against the jurisdiction of the Code of Conduct Bureau to try him without the full composition of its judges.

See: Appeal Court delivers judgment in Saraki case

Metuh in his statement drew the attention of the President of the Court of Appeal, Zainab Bulkachuwa to reports of undue interferences, emanating from her office, in the activities of various election petition tribunals and other judicial cases, ostensibly to sway them against the PDP and in favour of the ruling APC.

Sources had confirmed to POST NIGERIA that Bulkachuwa had pressured Justices M.A.A. Adumien, J.E. Ekanem and M. Mustapha to immediately suspend Saraki’s case indefinitely barely 30 minutes before the time fixed for giving judgment.

Highly placed sources in the judiciary confirmed that Bulkachuwa is currently under extreme pressure not to allow any development that will jeopardize the plan by the Danladi Umar-led Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT to convict Saraki by all means.

See: REVEALED: How Tinubu forced A’Court to adjourn Saraki case

The source added that the President of the Court of Appeal may attempt to reassign the case to a more malleable panel of judges.

Based on this, Metuh called on Mohammed to jealously guard the independence of the judiciary, and ensure that any activity that tends to undermine the sanctity of that arm of government is stiffly resisted in the interest of democracy.

    “While we would not want to believe that the President of the Court of Appeal is so involved, given the sensitivity of her office, we wish to caution, in very strong terms, that such is completely unacceptable as it principally detracts from the sanctity of the judiciary as the citadel of justice and erode the trust reposed on it by the people,” the PDP Spokesman said.

However, angered by the weighty allegations made by the opposition party, the CJN said the party and its spokesperson needed to be counseled that they must not tread where they have little or no knowledge about.

He added that it is not his wish “to join issues with people exercising their rights to freedom of speech, except the sensitive and sacred nature of the Judiciary in the society.”

He wondered whether this should be interpreted to mean that “the President of the Court of Appeal has influenced the tribunal to also give judgments in favour of the PDP members that have won their cases.

    “We all agree that the 1999 Constitution (as amended) provides for freedom of expression, but it cannot be exercised in isolation recklessly like loose cannon,” he stated.

Mohammed went on to state categorically that “I make bold to state that the integrity of the Judiciary this time around is non-negotiable.

    “Independent judiciary intrinsically means judges can make decisions irrespective of the political winds that are blowing. And we are indeed doing same at the election petition tribunal,” he noted.

See: Appeal Court delivers judgment in Saraki case