Members of the House of Representatives have backed the National Judicial Council on its new position that the sole power to recall the suspended President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Isa Ayo Salami, rests with it and not President Goodluck Jonathan.
They also oppose the bid by Jonathan to extend the tenure of the acting PCA, Mr. Dalhatu Adamu, arguing that it will be in conflict with the 1999 Constitution.
Minority Leader of the House, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, told Saturday PUNCH that the NJC position was correct.
Gbajabiamila, a lawyer, stated that there was no point delaying the reinstatement of Salami and advised Jonathan against possible constitutional breaches.
“NJC is absolutely correct. The President is precluded under the provisions of the constitution from further extending the appointment of the appeal court chief justice as he purports to do,” he said.
The Minority Whip of the House, Mr. Sampson Osagie, called on the NJC to go ahead and reinstate Salami, noting that “there is no provision legally for an acting PCA after three months.”
He argued that since there was no legal backing for an extension of the tenure beyond three months, the appropriate thing to do was to reinstate Salami immediately.
Osagie said, “The NJC should go ahead and do the right thing because it was the NJC that kick-started the whole process in the first place.
“The NJC should take this debate over who has the power or no power out of the public domain because it does not portray the judiciary in good light.”
On his part, the Chairman, House Committee on Judiciary, Mr. Aminu Shagari, pointed to the subsisting court judgement on the matter and advised that the judgement should be obeyed.
“There is a court judgement on the issue already. The court is the final arbiter on any dispute; so, the law should be obeyed,” he stated.
It will be recalled that in August 2011, the NJC had written Jonathan to approve Salami’s suspension, which the President immediately complied with.
In the same vein, the council wrote Jonathan for an approval after the suspension was lifted, but the President withheld his approval.
However, the council later made a U-turn, arguing that the President’s approval was not necessary for it to suspend or reinstate a judge.