PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday, October 30, dismissed insinuations that he asked anyone to induce judges to pervert the course of Justice. Buhari also said he had nothing to do with the travails of about 12 judges, including two Justices of the Supreme Court.
The President made the clarification through a statement by Garba Shehu, his senior special assistant on Media and Publicity.
Those under investigation by the Department of State Service, DSS, are Sylvester Ngwuta and Inyang Okoro, two Supreme Court justices; Justice Mohammed Ladan Tsamiya, suspended presiding justice of the Court of Appeal, Ilorin Division, who was picked up in Sokoto; Justice Adeniyi Ademola of a federal high court; Justice I. A. Umezulike, chief judge of Enugu State; Justice Kabiru Auta of Kano State high court; Justice Muazu Pindiga, Gombe State high court; Justice Bashir Sukola and Justice Ladan Manir, from the Kaduna State high court.
Of the nine judges, the NJC has recommended sanctions for Justice Tsamiya, Justice Umezulike and Justice Auta.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is investigating the following judges of the Federal High Court: Justices Mohammed Nasir Yunusa; Hyeladzira Ajiya Nganjiwa; Musa Haruna Kurya; Agbadu James Fishim; Uwani Abba Aji; and Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia.
Justice Okoro had claimed that a minister approached him and said the President was interested in the outcome of the election petitions in Akwa Ibom and Rivers states.
But the President yesterday said he had never approached any judge to win his cases between 2003 and 2011.
The statement said: “President Muhammadu Buhari would be the last person to authorise anybody to induce a judge to pervert the course of justice.
“Despite his personal familiarity with some court judges, the President had never used that familiarity to seek favours from them from 2003, 2007 and 2011 when he was challenging the fairness of the presidential election results, from the lowest to the highest courts in the land during the periods in question.
“As a politician, Buhari had never once ever suggested to his lawyers to approach any judge for assistance to win his cases. The President lives by this principle and has never deviated from it.”
On the fate of the Judges facing corruption allegations, the Presidential Media Aide said: “The President doesn’t tell Courts how to do their jobs and that anybody accused of corruption is protected by law to defend their innocence.
“The purpose of the law is to punish the guilty and acquit the innocent. The law protects the rights of everyone.
“The President doesn’t have any powers to force any court to convict anybody who is innocent. In a democratic society that cannot happen without resistance by the people.”
— Oct 31, 2016 @ 14:25 GMT