The Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters may this week summon the immediate past Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad over allegations of corruption.
The move followed a recent petition by Acting CJN Justice Kayode Ariwoola and 13 other Supreme Court Justices that accused the ex-CJN of corruption.
It was learnt that the justices would also be invited.
It was learnt further that the committee used the Sallah break to work out modalities for a Public Hearing and it is set to extend invitations to the key players and other relevant stakeholders including the Bench and Bar, anytime soon.
The resolution of the Red Chamber was sequel to a motion by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele on the matter.
Bamidele’s motion was titled: “Matter of urgent public importance on the state of affairs in the Supreme Court of Nigeria and demand by Justices of the court, pursuant to rules 41 and 51 of the Senate Standing Orders, 2022 (as amended).”
In his lead debate, Bamidele drew his colleagues’ attention to media reports on the state of affairs in the Supreme Court where Justices of the Court, through a petition, raised issues bordering on deplorable welfare conditions and difficult working environment for the Justices.
The petition by the Justices, according to him, was addressed to the Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman, National Judicial Council (NJC) before his resignation.
He noted that the President of the Senate had emphasised the need for the Senate to urgently step into the matter “as any issue that concerns the Judiciary is an issue of urgent national importance that the Senate cannot afford to sit-idly by and allow to spiral out of control.”
He lamented that poor welfare for Judicial Officers would hinder them from performing optimally.
In approving the prayers of the motion, the Senate directed the Bamidele-led panel to go ahead with the probe in a bid to find a lasting solution to the matter.
It also mandated the panel to “interface with the relevant stakeholders in the three arms of Government as well as at the Bar and on the Bench and collate aggregate views and positions on the short term, medium term and long term measures needed to decisively address the crisis facing the Judiciary, including the immediate fiscal intervention as well as long term and sustainable budgetary allocations, required for the optimal performance of the Judiciary, in line with global best practices.”
Apart from ex-CJN Muhammad and the acting CJN, Justice Ariwoola, other Supreme Court Justices that may testify before the Senate Panel during the public hearing on the matter include Justice Musa Datijo Muhammad, Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, Justice Chima Centus Nweze and Justice Amina Augie.
Others are: Justice Uwani Musa Abba-Aji, Justice John Inyang Okoro, Justice Lawal Garba, Justice Helen Ogunwumiju, Justice Abdu Aboki, Justice I.M. Salnwa, Justice Adamu Janro, Justice Tijani Abubakar and Justice Emmanuel Agim.