The National Judicial Council (NJC) has made it clear that Justice Uwani Abba-Aji whose name has been forwarded to President Muhammadu Buhari for confirmation as Justice of the Supreme Court has no known corruption case hanging.
Responding to a publication by the Civic Society Network Against Corruption urging President Buhari not to forward the Judge to the Senate for confirmation on account that he has a corruption case against him, the NJC said that Justice Abba-Aji has been sitting in Court and no Investigation Agency has filed any new allegation against him.
“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.”
A statement by the Director of Information, Soji 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.
“Members of the public would recall that sequel to the request of the Attorney-General of the Federation, in 2016, Hon. Mr Justice Abba-Aji and seven (7) other Judicial Officers were directed by the Council to recuse themselves from performing their judicial functions pending their investigation by Security Agency.
“However, Hon. Mr. Justice Abba-Aji and five (5) others were recalled as only three (3) out of the Judicial Officers then under investigations were arraigned in Court.”
The Civic Society Network Against Corruption had objected to the name of the judge being forwarded for confirmation on the basis the report of an online newspaper of 16thOctober, 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 to withhold submission of Justice Abba- Aji’s name to the National Assembly until he is purged of the allegation of corruption.
However, the National Judicial Council re-affirmed its commitment to zero tolerance for corruption which is the stand of the Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman of the Council, Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen.