Ayo Salami: Where was the judiciary when I was being harassed?

Ayo Salami, former President of the Court of Appeal, says he rejected the appointment offered him as Chairman of the Corruption and Financial Crime Cases Trial Monitoring Committee because the Judiciary abandoned him when he was “being harassed”.

Salami debunked reports that he refused to collect the job because he was uncomfortable with some members of the committee.

He made this known during a phone interview with The Punch on Thursday.

According to Salami, when Walter Onnoghen, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, announced the constitution of the committee, he was not in the country.

“I rejected the appointment because it is not in my interest,” Salami simply said.

When probed further, he said: “What I mean is that it is not in my interest; that was why I rejected it. It is because I don’t need it.”

The interviewer reminded Salami that it appears the judiciary needs his help now, to which he replied: “To do what in the judiciary? Where was the judiciary when they were harassing me? Where was the court when they were harassing me? So, let them continue to do it in their own way.”

Salami also said there was no truth in the reports that he rejected the appointment because of some persons in the committee.

“It is not; I don’t just feel like doing it. it is not because of anybody,” he replied curtly.

He also maintained that he had forwarded his rejection letter to the office of the Chief Justice, and wondered why the CJN and the NJC would say they had not received it.

“Let them look for it, I have sent it. If I have not sent it, how did they know?” he queried.

Salami was removed as President of the Appeal Court in 2011 under controversial circumstances.

He had alleged that Aloysius Katsina-Alu, the then Chief Justice of Nigeria, attempted to influence the decision of the Appeal Court in a Sokoto governorship election matter pending before the court at the time.



    Salami was subsequently suspended, and a panel, headed by Justice Ibrahim Auta, was set up to investigate the matter.

    The panel found Salami guilty of lying on oath against Katsina-Alu and among the recommendations of the committee, he was asked to apologise to the CJN within seven days.

    Salami then approached the Federal High Court to challenge the recommendations of the panel, but while the matter was still pending in court, the NJC held an emergency meeting where Salami was suspended and immediately replaced with Justice Dalhatu Adamu.

    However, Salami was later cleared in 2012 during the tenure of Dahiru Musdapher as the Chief Justice of Nigeria. However, then President Goodluck Jonathan refused to act on the recommendations of the NJC until Salami retired in 2013.

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