Corruption allegations against Tanko must be probed – NBA

CJN Tanko Muhammad
CJN Tanko MuhammadFile

Following the resignation of Justice Muhammad Tanko as the Chief Justice of Nigeria, some branches of the Nigerian Bar Association on Monday called for the probe of the erstwhile CJN.

They all agreed that the accusations leveled against the former CJN should not be ignored.

On Monday morning, Muhammad’s resignation was made known. Fewer than a week after 14 Supreme Court Justices, in a combined petition, leveled serious charges of financial impropriety and administrative misconduct against the Bauchi State-born justice, it is said that he submitted his resignation on the grounds of ill health.

The Chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association, Makurdi branch, Maimuna Ikwulono, in an interview with The PUNCH, submitted that the allegations against the retired Justice should be investigated “so as to help administration of justice.”

Ikwulono, the first female NBA chairman of the Makurdi branch, said that the impropriety and administrative inefficiency levelled against the jurist should not be swept under the carpet.

“Nobody can say that those issues raised be swept under the carpet because we are looking for a solution. Certain things are being done that are hampering the justice administration process, that is affecting judicial responsibilities.

“It is incumbent on the relevant authorities to look into it to stop the wrong to have smoother administration of justice. It is not out of place to look into it,” she said.

Also, the Chairman of the Ilaro branch of the NBA in Ogun State, Talabi Oluwantonwo, told one of our correspondents that the former CJN should be investigated.

Oluwatonwo expressed shock at the speedy manner the executive accepted the resignation letter of the CJN without probing him on the allegation.

He said, “We were told that he resigned this morning. However, there are allegations against him bothering on corruption, he should be probed first.

“They should probe him first before accepting his letter of resignation instead of giving him a national award.”

Also, a former Secretary of the NBA, Asaba branch, AF Bridebra, endorsed the demand for an investigation of the Supreme Court under Muhammad.

Bridebra, who spoke in an interview with The PUNCH in Asaba, stated, “If there is any place we need transparency, it is the judiciary. The man (Muhammad) should be probed.

“The man was rumoured to have been involved in corrupt activities, so he should be probed. Not only him but it should be extended to all Supreme Court judges and NBA.

“The judiciary, as far as I’m concerned, is dying. Every state judge needs to be investigated; this is the beginning of the End-SARS revolution in the judiciary.”

The Chairman of the NBA Section on Public Interest and Development Law, Dr Monday Ubani, in an interview with The PUNCH, said, “Resignation does not stop investigation, if they so desire. One is that there must be the desire to look at the allegations raised by his colleagues, especially on issues of mismanagement of resources.

“The acting Chief Justice was one of those who supported the petition so he should look into it and have unbiased personnel to unravel it. We shouldn’t sweep it under the carpet but investigate it. Yes, he resigned on health grounds but it doesn’t stop probing into the finances of his administration if there is an extreme need for it.”

Also, Ifedayo Adedipe SAN, said the allegations against the former CJN should not be laid to rest because he resigned.

He said he must be investigated and brought to book if found guilty of the allegations levelled against him by his colleagues.

Adedipe said, “The reason Nigeria is not making progress is that there are no consequences for bad behaviours. Is this how other countries run their affairs? So, because he has resigned, if he has committed an infraction he should be allowed to go?

“People might as well be committing infractions and be resigning. If it is true that he has committed an infraction, particularly being the head of the judiciary, he should answer for it. We must leave sentiment out of our everyday activities.

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