A Benin-based legal practitioner, Mr Afolabi Olayiwola, has called on the president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mahmoud Abubakar (SAN), to resign from office over the latter’s call that judges under investigation by the Department of State Security (DSS) should step aside.
He also called on the Ministers of Transportation and that of Science and Technology, Mr Rotimi Amaechi and Ogbonnaya Onu, respectively to resign from their offices, even as he called on President Muhammadu Buhari to set up a high level inquiry to investigate the allegations made against the two Supreme Court Justices that allegedly attempted to bribe them.
Olayiwola, who spoke to journalists in Benin while reacting to the statement by the NBA president said, “the view that the judges should step aside is his own. There was never a time that the NBA was called to discuss the issue.
“I am actually ashamed of that view, because as lawyers and judges, we are known for constituencies. That was not his original view before now. Suddenly, he just changed that view.
“If he says that Judges should leave the Bench based on allegations against them of which there are no petitions before the NJC, what about the allegations by two Supreme Court Justices against two ministers: Rotimi Amaechi and Ogbonnaya Onu? The two men should resign their appointments.
“I support the view expressed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Mahmud Muhammed that the affected judges will not be forced to step aside. We should not allow the Executive arm of government to rubbish the judiciary.
“Nobody is saying that corruption allegations should not be investigated, but the point is that you cannot go to somebody’s house at the wee hours of the day with sledge hammer, break doors with guns pointing at them with the excuse of looking for evidence.
“You cannot do that to a governor or even the President at night or else you will be killed. The judicial officials and that of the executive are of equal footing constitutionally.
He insisted that the NJC, the body invested constitutionally to discipline judges and other judicial officials was doing a lot to clean the judiciary, adding that they should be supported instead of mobilising against the body.