Monday, February 6, 2023

Ex-CJN Tanko’s resignation won’t stop corruption probe, says Senate

The senators are investigating corruption allegations brought against the former CJN by 14 justices of the apex court.

• June 28, 2022
Nigerian Senate
Nigerian Senate floor used to illustrate the story (Credit: Twitter)

The Senate on Tuesday insisted that it would go ahead with the investigation of former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Muhammad, despite his resignation.

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

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

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.”

Supporting Mr Bamidele’s motion, Deputy Chief Whip 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 the separation of powers. Our concern is that the judiciary as an arm of government deserves all the support it needs as 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.

“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. There is no reason why the judiciary should lack anything financially.”

In his remarks, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, said, “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 a need to improve on the structures or having issues that may not be about funding, but funding is, of course, a major issue.” Mr Lawan said.

Recently, 14 Justices of the Supreme Court levelled allegations of corruption against the former CJN.

On June 22, the Senate mandated the committee to, as a matter of urgency, wade into the crisis rocking the judiciary to address the complaints raised in the petition by the Justices of the Supreme Court.


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