By Izuoma Ibe
Just last week, online and print media across the Nigeria were published with claims and counter claims of the executive arm-twisting the judiciary to bend from its tenets. I also did an article in that regard where is labeled the arrest of Judges across the nation as nothing but an executive recklessness. This was proven clear as the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) overtly criticized the act of arrest; the president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) was not left out of the rebuff of that action against his fellows of the Bar.
Just like being a brother’s keeper or an act of ensuring that the fire in a neighbor’s house is put off least it engulfs the others’, Nigerian Senate President Bukola Saraki also expressed displeasure over the manner in which such arrest was orchestrated – “We are in a democracy and cannot accept anti corruption strategies that doesn’t follow the rule of law, undermine authority/integrity and independence of different arms of government” –calling for responsible bodies to sit up as such may happen to any other Nigerian.
It is evident that the arrested –if not kidnapped Judges –have been set free on self recognition, there is still a twist in that arrest which is yet to be rectified. That twist is the cry of Justice Ademola who was later arrested and has remained arrested. He is blaming his arrest on his ruling on Independent People of Biafran (IPOD) leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and the former National Security adviser, Col. Dasuki which granted them bail. He is no less to mean that the presidency is actually using the rulings to hunt him as he has ruled against the wishes of the presidency.
Much as that is the claim by Justice Ademola as backed up by the Biafra Radio which has overtly and authoritatively lampooned the presidency for such an act, a former executive turned legislator from Abia state; a former Chief of Staff (CoS) to the Abia State government for eight years, governor of the state for eight years, making him a sixteen years occupant of the Abia state government house and now a senator representing Abia Central Senatorial District, a victory which is well known to have been stolen by him against the wish of his people is making moves to add to the arm-twisting of Judges in Nigeria.
Evident moves by him which I am promises to bring to public notice in subsequent publications has it that T. A. Orji is actually conniving with a Judge in Lagos state to relocate the case between his former boss and benefactor –former governor of Abia State –Chief Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu to Lagos state. If T. A. Orji who was rightly arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2006 for charges of corruption, a case which he is yet to sort out with the commission should have a hand over the wigs of the members of the Bar to perpetrate acts of miscarriage of justice, the inferiority of the Nigeria Bar Association is nothing less than obvious.
On my last check, the Judiciary is an arm of government just as the executive and legislature, the lameness exhibited by the judiciary currently is questionable. Onlookers are asking, has such dark cloud come over the judiciary now that the president emeritus of the Bar has handed over to the incumbent? Is the incumbent actually looking the other way while these acts are perpetrated? What has an incompetent person who left his people in Abia state with little or no level of development but mismanaged over 700bilion of the state revenue to do to paint the judiciary black. It is a charge on the incumbent president of the Bar to see that under his watch the judiciary stands taller not shorter as it is behaving while he presides.
On my last check also, a case is to be relocated on the bases of jurisdiction, is relocated to the place where the act is committed. In order words, should the case between Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu and the EFCC be relocated, it should be relocated to Abia State and not Lagos. Relocating the case to Lagos is a slap to the judiciary; an exposure of loopholes and nonchalance in the judicial system under the leadership of the current president of the Bar. He should see to the fact that under his watch, the judiciary is not mishandled by the executive or other arms of government and common individuals but that the responsibilities under his watch are roundly seen to.
Ademola’s cry that his sincere ruling on Kanu and Dasuki has orchestrated his arrest will be a fact if the plot by T. A. Orji succeeds. It will show that the executive dictates the rulings of the judges in Nigeria. Justice Ademola is crying that had he danced to the other tune which is from the executive; he would have been a free man. Therefore, if a case that should not be relocated is done by detects of a legislator with no tangible reason, it simply means that the judiciary is a pawn in the hands of the executive and the legislature. And with this height, the ‘sacrosancity’ of both the spirit of the law and her letters is trampled upon.
As this judgment has been slated for the 7th, 8th and 9th of December, the presidency, every responsibly agency, governmental and non-governmental organizations, good spirited individuals, leaders of repute and the likes should speak against the machinations of T. A. Orji who is attempting to enlist the judiciary on his pay list.
-Izuoma Ibe is a sociologist and a Writer. He writes from Calabar via email@example.com