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Senate to probe ex-CJN after recess

The Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters will commence a probe of a former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Muhammad.

Sunday PUNCH learnt that the activities of the committee were still on hold because the Senate embarked on a recess for the Sallah festivities, a day after the committee was ordered to probe the issue.

The committee on Tuesday during the plenary received a fresh order by the Senate to probe the ex-CJN following allegations of corruption preceeding his retirement last week.

The clerk of the committee, Fatima Jiddum, told our correspondent that the framework of the committee was still skeletal and that the full work would commence when the senators returned from their Sallah recess.

She said, “There is no information on the probe yet because right now, we are not doing anything. When they resume, we will know how to go about it. As it stands, we haven’t concluded on the framework yet.

“So, for now, there is no information to share. Once the committee commences work, the information would be made public. If there is other information, the chairman of the committee will make them available, “ she added.

Also, the spokesperson for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Wilson Uwujaren, declined comment, saying, “You know we don’t make announcements about what we do.”

The ex-CJN resigned last week on the ground of health challenges after allegations of corruption were levelled against him by 14 Supreme Court justices.

Consequently, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, mandated the committee led by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele to probe the allegations against the CJN and the crisis presently rocking the judiciary.

During plenary last Tuesday, Lawan recalled that on June 21, he drew the attention of the Senate to the media reports on the state of affairs in the Supreme Court where justices of the apex court, in a petition which was addressed to the CJN and Chairman of the National Judicial Council raised issues bordering on deplorable welfare conditions and difficult working environment.

He also emphasised the need for the Senate to urgently step into the matter as any issue concerning the judiciary was of urgent national importance and that the Senate could not afford to allow it to spiral out of control.

Accordingly, the Senate President directed the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to unravel the root cause of the recent development in the judiciary and how best the upper chamber could address the concerns raised by the justices.

Lawan said, “The chamber mandates the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to go ahead with its assignment in the quest to find a lasting solution to the matter by interacting with relevant stakeholders to address the complaints raised in the petition by the justices of the Supreme Court.”

Responding, Bamidele said his team was taking steps to look into the matter by making arrangements to interface with relevant stakeholders both at the Bar and the Bench


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