The Justices of the Supreme Court have accused the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice lbrahim Tanko Muhammad of corruption.
Multiple sources told SaharaReporters that the Justices via a letter to Tanko complained that poor welfare had hindered their job.
They were also said to have accused him of diverting their housing, vehicles and electricity allowances into his personal pocket and pursuing his children’s political ambitions.
SaharaReporters had exclusively reported that two sons of the Chief Justice of Nigeria emerged as the Senatorial and House of Representatives candidates of the All Progressives Congress and Peoples Democratic Party respectively in Bauchi State.
While Siraj Ibrahim Tanko emerged as the APC candidate for Bauchi North, his brother, Sani won the ticket of the PDP to represent Shira/Giade federal constituency in Bauchi State at the lower chamber of the National Assembly.
“The Justices reiterated the fact that they are serving this country diligently and to the best of their ability and as such deserves the best compared to how they are being treated by the present CJN,” a top judicial officer told SaharaReporters.
“The Justices reminded the CJN of the facts that they resolve disputes between the Executive and the Legislature including all manner of disagreements, between governments and individuals and how it would be a tragedy if the Nigerian public were to know that they are unable to resolve their own problems internally without going public due to neglect and lack of taking to corrections by the CJN.
“The Justices demanded that the CJN act before it is too late as all efforts in the past to resolve their complaints have yielded no result. The Justices recall that the CJN reluctantly called a Justices’ meeting on the 23rd day of March 2022 after several persistent requests to hold the meeting.
“The Justices recalled that at their meeting of the 23rd day of March 2022 they tabled and discussed their demands on:
I. Justices accommodation,
III. Electricity tariff,
IV. Supply of diesel,
V. Internet services to justices’ residences and chambers,
VI. Epileptic electricity supply to the Court,
“They also raised the issue of the failure of the Honourable Chief Justice to carry the Justices along in managing the affairs of the Court as well as the deteriorating condition of services generally. They frowned on how the CJN reneged on the agreement that the welfare committee be constituted to compile and forward their demands which were submitted to the CJN for his review.
“The welfare Committee submitted their request for diesel allowance, because of the epileptic electricity supply, the astronomical hike in the price of diesel and the fact that Justices require electricity to work at home. The Committee also requested the restoration of their monthly Internet allowance, because they require uninterrupted Internet service in order to have access to materials online to write their judgments but the CJN ignored these demands since 24th March 2022.
“The worse part of the CJN corruption is the fact that some Justices sworn in since the 6th day of November 2020 were yet to be accommodated by the Court as they lived in their rented apartments with the attendant risks attached to the same. With regard to Justice’s vehicles, several justices are due for vehicle replacement, while the new Justices have not received their full complement of vehicles to date. Moreover, some of the vehicles supplied to the Justices are either refurbished or substandard.”
The source added that the Justices also protested about how Tanko diverted their training allowances.
“Contrary to what used to be the norm in the past where Justices were nominated to attend two to three foreign workshops and training per annum with an accompanying person for reasons of old age but since the current CJN assumed office, only two workshops in Dubai and Zanzibar were organized and the Justices were not accorded the privilege of travelling with accompanying persons as it was the practice.
“However, the CJN continues to travel with his spouse, children and personal staff. The Justices demanded to know what has become of their training funds and whether the same has been diverted despite the fact that the National Assembly has increased the budgetary allocation of the Judiciary.
“The Justices also demanded provision of qualified legal assistants when lower Courts provide legal assistants for their Justices and Judges. They noted that the Supreme Court, apart from being the highest court in the land, is a policy court which is confronted with various complex legal issues of national significance with the addition of time-bound matters coming in between their regular court sittings and as such require the services of legal assistants.
“Of importance is the state of health care in the Supreme Court which has deteriorated; the Supreme Court clinic has become a mere consulting clinic. Drugs are not available to treat minor ailments. There is a general lack of concern for Justices who require immediate or emergency medical intervention. The justices also noted that the Rules of the Supreme Court are the immediate tools employed by Justices to dispense Justice to Court users but the CJN has kept the amended Rules of Court for almost three years now without appending his signature.”
The source also disclosed a recent notice from the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court via an internal memo to the Justices that electricity would be supplied to the court between the hours of 8 am and 4 pm daily, for lack of diesel “despite the increase of the budgetary allocation to the court without taking into cognizance of the implication of the memo which implies that the Justices must finish their work and close before 4pm irrespective of the increasing demands of appeals coming to the court.”
“The Justices were concerned that the Judiciary as an institution, which is gradually drifting to extinction. The Supreme Court of Nigeria, just like the Presidential Villa and the National Assembly, is the seat of the Judiciary as an arm of Government.
“They reminded the CJN that the choice is now his to address their complaints and swiftly take responsibility and address their burning issues or they will be compelled to down tools. The Justices were stunned to see that the CJN diverted their allowances into his children’s political ambition without care or fear of the anti-corruption agencies and they believe that this may be due to the fact that he is a northerner and a friend of the government in power who saw to his emergence from the back door.”
Supreme Court Gets N110 Billion Annually
SaharaReporters learnt that the apex court has been receiving at least N110 billion yearly since 2018.
Meanwhile, the Justices in a letter to Tanko and obtained SaharaReporters asked him to explain what has become of their training funds.
They also accused him of failing to carry them along in managing the affairs of the court.
The letter was signed by Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, Justice Musa Dattijo Mohammed, Justice Kudirat Motonmori O. Kekere-Ekun, Justice John Inyang Okoro, Justice Chima Nweze, Justice Amina Adamu Augie and Justice Uwani Musa Abba-Aji.
Others who signed the letter include Justice Mohammed Lawal Garba, Justice Helen Moronkeji Ogunwumujimi, Justice Ibrahim Mohammed Musa Saulawa, Justice Adamu Jauro, Justice Tijjani Abubakar and Justice Emmanuel Akomaye Agim.