Graft Claims: Senate Resolves To Probe ex-CJN Tanko Muhammad Despite Resignation

Graft Claims: Senate Resolves To Probe ex-CJN Tanko Muhammad Despite Resignation

Senate on Tuesday insisted that it would go ahead with the probe of the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Tanko Muhammad, despite resigning his position as the country’s top jurist.

This was sequel to a motion on the Matter of Urgent Public Importance moved by Chairman Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters Sen. Opeyemi Bamidele (APC-Ekiti).

The motion was tagged: “State of Affairs in the Supreme Court of Nigeria and Demand by Justices of the Court.”

On June 22, the Senate directed the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to investigate the alleged corruption in the judiciary system of the country.

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The directive came after 14 Supreme Court justices, in a leaked memo, accused Muhammad of not giving justices their legitimate entitlements.

The justices cited challenges that have almost crippled the efficient adjudication of cases at the court – the first of its kind in the 58-year history of the court.

Some major issues raised by the justices are non-replacement of poor vehicles, poor accommodation, lack of drugs at the Supreme Court clinic and poor electricity supply to the Supreme Court.

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Days after the memo, Muhammad on Monday announced his resignation from the position of the CJN.

Following prayers of the motion, the senate resolved to mandate the committee to go ahead with its assignment in the quest to find a lasting solution to the matter by interacting with relevant stakeholders.

This is with a view to addressing the complaints raised in the petition by the Justices of the Supreme Court.

The upper chamber also mandated the committee to interface with the relevant stakeholders in the three arms of government as well as at the Bar and the Bench.

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Bamidele, while moving the motion pursuant to Rules 41 and 51 of the Senate Standing Orders, noted that poor welfare of judicial officers would affect the delivery of the judiciary in respect of their output and would prevent them from performing optimally.

“The sacred image of the judiciary, which is the epicentre of the temple of justice should be preserved by the Senate through appropriate legislative measures in order to safeguard this highly revered institution and prevent it from being ridiculed,” he said.

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The lawmaker who regretted the former CJN’s resignation said that “this development will not prevent the committee from going ahead with its assignment in the quest to find a probable lasting solution to the matter.

“Even though Muhammad has stepped down as CJN, most of the issues raised by the Justices of the Supreme Court and other stakeholders within the judiciary still remain and need to be addressed urgently to prevent an eventual shut-down of the Judiciary.”

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Supporting the motion, Deputy Chief Whip, Sen. Sabi Abdullahi, said that “this motion will show clearly that the Senate is not unaware of the role it is supposed to play.

“Of course, in playing that role, we also respect separation of powers. Our concern is that the judiciary as an arm of government deserves all the support it needs being the last hope as far as the rule of law is concerned.”

Similarly, Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege said, “I am very embarrassed as a lawyer and also someone from the judicial family.

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“Seeing that petition on the social media and eventually on the mainstream media, I was taken aback because it has never happened, it is unprecedented.

In his remarks, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, said that, “I can see most of the emphasis is on funding.

“When we look into the issues, they go beyond funding.

“We should look at other areas whether there is need to improve on the structures or having issues that may not be about funding but funding is of course a major issue.” Lawan said.

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