Salami’s reinstatement: Court fixes January 24 to rule on jurisdiction

Justice Ayo Salami

Mr. Oyinlola, the plaintiff, is the National Secretary of the PDP.

The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday fixed January 24 for ruling on whether it has the jurisdiction to hear a suit filed by the National Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, against Justice Ayo Salami’s reinstatement as the President of the Court of Appeal.

The court will also decide on whether Mr. Oyinlola, a former governor of Osun State, abused court process by this action.

Justice Abdul Kafarati gave the date after counsel to parties adopted their addresses on the issues raised.

The President, the Attorney-General of the Federation, and the National Judicial Council, NJC, are the respondents.

Mr. Oyinlola, the plaintiff, urged the court to decide whether the recommendation of the NJC to President Goodluck Jonathan to reinstate Mr. Salami as President, Court of Appeal, was not voided by a pending suit filed by Mr. Salami.

The plaintiff equally prayed the court to determine whether the President could reinstate Mr. Salami while the suit he filed against his removal was pending. He urged the court to determine whether the decision by NJC to reinstate Mr. Salami was not “ultra vires,” null and void in view of the pending suits against his removal.

The plaintiff also sought an order to set aside the recommendation of the NJC to reinstate Mr. Salami as President of the Court of Appeal.

The plaintiff further sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining Mr. Jonathan from acting on the recommendation of the NJC to reinstate Mr. Salami.

The counsel to the NJC, Abdulkarim Kana, in a preliminary objection, described Mr. Oyinlola as an interloper, adding that “he lacks the jurisdiction to institute this action.”

Mr. Kana explained that the plaintiff’s suit was an abuse of court process, saying that the third defendant, NJC, was constitutionally empowered to exercise disciplinary control on judicial officers.

He said that the suspension and the planned reinstatement of Mr. Salami as President of the Court of Appeal were pursuant to NJC constitutional powers.

Mr. Kana said that the suspension of Salami was not based on petitions from the plaintiff, but on some other matter involving retired Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu.

He said the recommendation to retire Mr. Salami from judicial service was not acted upon.

The NJC argued that the suit should be dismissed as the plaintiff was not a party to any of the suits filed by Mr. Salami against the Council

The counsel to the President and the Attorney General, Mathew Echo, aligned with the objections raised by counsel to the NJC, adding that the suit was premature, prejudicial and an abuse of court process.

Mr. Salami was suspended last year following a public dispute with former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Aloysius Katsina-Alu.

NAN

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