By Alex Enumah in Abuja
The National Judicial Council (NJC) has cleared the air over the appointment of Justice Uwani Abba-Aji as a Justice of the Supreme Court, stating that the justice is worthy of the appointment.
Justice Abba-Aji’s name was recently forwarded by the NJC to President Muhammadu Buhari for appointment as Justice of the Supreme court.
But a group under the platform of Civil Society Network Against Corruption citing alleged corruption against the Justice, had threatened legal action if the president confirms his appointment.
Reacting to the threat, the NJC in a statement by the Director Information, Soji Oye, stated that although the Justice was among 7 justices directed to stay away from work pending the conclusion of their investigation by security agencies, he had since been cleared of all allegations.
Oye said, “The attention of the National Judicial Council has been drawn to a publication by the Civic Society Network Against Corruption urging President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, not to forward the name of Honourable Mr. Justice Uwani Abba-Aji recommended to him by the Council for appointment as a Justice of the Supreme Court to the Senate for confirmation otherwise it would challenge the action in court.
“The group premised its objection to the appointment of Hon Mr. Justice Abba-Aji to the Apex Court on the report of an online newspaper of 16th October, 2016, which featured his name as one of the Judicial Officers under investigation for corruption by Security Agencies for accepting bribe from a senior lawyer who is currently facing trial at the law court.
“The Civil Society group concluded by imploring President Buhari, GCFR, to withhold submission of Hon. Mr. Justice Abba- Aji’s name to the National Assembly until he is purged of the allegation of corruption”.
Oye said that in as much as the National Judicial Council would not join issues with anyone on this matter, it is necessary to put the records straight.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Hon. Mr. Justice Abba-Aji has since been sitting in court and no Investigation agency has filed any new allegation against His Lordship, in fact, his international passport had been returned to him and he had been travelling outside the country without any hindrance, signalling that the investigation agencies have nothing new against His Lordship.
“The law of the land remains that no one is to be punished except for an offence established by due process of law.
“The National Judicial Council hereby re-affirms its commitment to zero tolerance for corruption which is the stand of The Honourable, The Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman of the Council, Hon. Mr. Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, GCON”, the statement added.