Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, on Wednesday said he had not been officially briefed on the purported reinstatement of the suspended President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami, by the National Judicial Council.
The NJC, had on Thursday recommended the reinstatement of Salami who was suspended on the heels of a disagreement he had with the then Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu.
A week after the decision of the NJC however, President Goodluck Jonathan has yet to reinstate the embattled judge fuelling speculation that the President is under pressure especially from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party to ensure that Salami is not reinstated.
Adoke, while speaking with State House correspondents in Abuja said he returned to the country from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Tuesday and he had yet to be officially briefed on the development that occurred while he was away.
The minister said doing so would result to reacting to “mob action.”
He said, “Until when I am briefed and I see the letter, I can’t be reacting to mob action.
“I think Reuben Abati (presidential spokesman) has told you that the President has not received the letter. I am waiting to be briefed.”
But a former AGF and and counsel for Salami, Chief Akin Olujimi, urged President Goodluck Jonathan to resolve the controversy over his approval of the NJC’s recommendation.
Olujimi spoke in a text message he sent to one of our correspondents in reaction to Adoke’s claims that he had not been briefed on the NJC recommendation.
The text message read, “If what I read in the papers today that the Presidency has got NJC’s resolution reinstating His Lordship, Hon. Justice Salami, is true, then it means the President should be able to seek the advice of the Attorney General promptly.
“The matter has already dragged for too long and any delay by the President in giving his approval certainly will not be proper.”
A senior official at the NJC had claimed that a reinstatement letter was sent to Salami on Friday, the same day the council reportedly also forwarded the recommendation letter to the President.
Efforts to get the spokesman for the NJC, Mr. Soji Oye, to comment on the development were not successful.
Calls to his mobile telephone were not answered, and a text message sent to him was not replied as at the time of filing this report.
There was confusion on the issue during the week when the NJC claimed that the recommendation for Salami’s reinstatement had been forwarded to the President while the Presidency denied receipt of such correspondence.
A prominent lawyer, Prof Itse Sagay, and a former PCA, Justice Mustapha Akanbi, decried the delay in reinstating Salami.
They noted that Jonathan speedily approved the suspension of the PCA.
Sagay said, “The whole story about the non-receipt of the letter is shameful, immature, disgusting and very sad. If the Federal Government does not want to implement the recommendation of the NJC, let them just say and we will know it is all politics. This is absolute nonsense because if even they had not received it, why can they just give a call and send a dispatch rider to pick it up?”
Akanbi advised Jonathan to “do what is right” in the matter.
A source at the Presidential Villa told one of our correspondents on Wednesday that Jonathan had not received the NJC’s recommendation as at 7pm.
A highly placed source in the NJC, who did not wish to be named, however, said the letter got to the President’s table on Monday evening.
The source insisted that the letter was forwarded to the President on Friday.
The source said, “The letter was written and forwarded to the presidency on Friday.
“I have it on good authority that, due to administrative factors, it got to the President’s table on Monday evening.”