Amaechi in trouble as another Judge strikes – Paper Review

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TheRotimi-Amaechi-1-300x173 shameful development of bribery and corruption rocking the Nigerian judiciary, has taken another turn, with judges now revealing secrets that indict some members of the executive. Minister for Transport, Honorable Rotimi Amaechi, is one member of the executive who has been fingered in the bribery scandal rocking the judiciary, First he was accused by one Justice Okoro, he has been accused by yet another judge, a development that is causing great tension across the nation. This emerging development is the major story for most of the nation’s top dailies for this Friday, October 21. Below are briefs from the various newspapers. We begin with The Punch which bares the headline: “Another judge says Amaechi asked him to influence judgements”. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Another Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, has accused the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, and his Science and Technology counterpart, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, of asking him to help to influence the apex court’s decisions in some election cases. Ngwuta, who is one of the seven judges arrested recently by the operatives of the Department of State Services, said his current ordeal was connected to his refusal to accede to the requests made by the ministers. He made the allegation in his letter dated October 18, 2016, and addressed to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Maintaining his innocence, the judicial officer said he was a victim of his resolve never to violate his “sacred oath of office”. Ngwuta’s letter which came 48 hours after that of his colleague, Justice John Okoro, who was also arrested by the DSS operatives, accused Amaechi, a former Rivers State Governor, of asking him (Okoro) to influence the apex court’s decision on poll judgment in Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Abia states. Daily Sun joins in the debate, with the title: “Amaechi offered me bribe to sack Fayose”. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Less than 48 hours after his colleague accused Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Chibuike of sourcing for  favourable judgment in a 2015 election case, another Supreme Court judge, Justice Nwali Sylvester Ngwuta has named the former Rivers State governor in allegations of bribe-for-justice. Two weeks ago, two Justices of the Supreme Court and some Federal High Court judges were arrested in a midnight sting operation by the Department of State Services (DSS) on allegations of bribery and assests falsification. Following in the footsteps of Justice Inyang Okoro, Justice Ngwuta has, also, formally petitioned the National Judicial Council (NJC) on forces and factors allegedly behind the DSS raid. Justice Ngwuta, in a letter addressed to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mahmud Mohammed, who is also Chairman of the NJC, blamed his travails on Amaechi. In October 18, 2016 letter, Ngwuta traced his ordeal to 2013 when he alleged that Amaechi allegedly approached him at a function at the international Conference Centre (ICC), Abuja, to set aside Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose’s election in order to make way for his (Fayose’s) predecessor, and present Minister of Solid Minerals,  Kayode Fayemi. His words: “My present plight started sometime between 2013 and 2014. I represented the then CJN in an event organised at the International Conference Centre (ICC). “Honourable Rotimi Amaechi came in late and sat next to me at the high table. He introduced himself to me and we exchanged contacts. A few weeks later, Fayose’s case was determined in the Court of Appeal. “Amaechi called me by 6.45am and  said he had come to see me, but was told I had left for my office. When he said he would return in the evening, I demanded to know what he wanted, but he would not tell me. “He did not come that evening, but came the following morning when I was already prepared to go to work. “He begged me to ensure Fayose’s election was set aside and another election ordered for his friend, Fayemi, to contest. I told him I would not help him and that even if I was on the panel, I would have only my one vote. “After the Rivers State governorship election was determined by the Court of Appeal, he called to tell me his ‘ears were full’ and he would like to tell me what he heard.  I told him I was out of Abuja at the time. On my return, he came in the evening and even before he sat down, barked ‘You have seen Wike.’ The Nation bears a similar headline, Judge: “Amaechi asked me to help nullify Fayose’s election”. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Vanguard bears the headline: “DSS planted hard currency in my house”. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Another Justice of the Supreme Court, whose home was raided by operatives of the Department of State Services, DSS, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, has opened fresh can of worms, alleging that operatives of DSS, planted hard currency in his house. He also alleged that his ordeal was a result of his refusal at various times to help the All Progressives Congress, APC, pervert justice in governorship election disputes involving Ekiti, Rivers and Ebonyi states. In a similar development, Independent bears the report: “NBA Wants Judges Under Graft Probe To Step Down”. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Mahmoud Abubakar (SAN), the president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), on Thursday urged the National Judicial Council (NJC) to order the immediate stepping down of the seven Justices accused of judicial fraud. Abubakar gave the advice at the valedictory session in honour of Justice Sotonye Denton-West of the Court of Appeal in Abuja. It would be recalled that for days now, the country’s judiciary has come under criticisms over fraud allegations brought against the seven senior judicial officers. They included two Justices of the Supreme Court and five Justices of the Federal High Court. “I am sure that many here will be expecting me to make further statements on the ongoing events affecting the nation’s judiciary. “I have in the course of the last two weeks or so made several statements and remarks on these developments. Our position is therefore well known. “It appears to the NBA that it is extremely important that the NJC takes very urgent steps to safeguard the public image and sanctity of the courts,” he said. Daily Trust joins the Independent with the headline: “Judges under probe should step aside”. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter NBA President, NBA Abubakar Mahmoud, stated this yesterday during the valedictory court session in honour of retiring Justice Sotonye Denton West of the Court of Appeal. This is coming at a time when the Federal Government has given the go-ahead for the prosecution of the judges who have been under investigation. It was gathered that the Attorney General of the Federation had approved the immediate prosecution of the suspects so as not to give the erroneous impression that the government was promoting corruption. The affected Judges are Justices Sylvester Ngwuta and John Okoro of the Supreme Court, the suspended Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Ilorin Division, Justice Mohammed Tsamiya; Justice Kabiru Auta of the Kano State High Court and Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja. Others arrested were a former Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice I. A. Umezulike, and Muazu Pindiga of the Federal High Court, Gombe Division. The rest are Justices Bashir Sukola and Ladan Manir of the Kaduna State High Court. The NBA President had said recently that the arrests and detention of two Supreme Court justices and five other justices of the federal high court by the Department of State Security Service (DSS) was unlawful and unconstitutional. The National Judicial Council NJC also said the action was a clear attempt by the DSS to humiliate, intimidate, denigrate and cow the Judiciary

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