By Kuddi Haastrups
If I were to give a ‘’brotherly’’ advice to Mr Umar Dan Ladi, I will whisper some words of wisdom into his ears to resign from his current post as the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal. Umar would make things easy for President Muhammadu Buhari who is battling real hard to convince the international community on his promises of ridding the country of corrupt public officials within the shortest time possible.
On the 10th of November 2015, Mr President relieved the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC – Mr Ibrahim Lamorde of his duty in what many described as a step too late in his anti-corruption crusade. Questionable character, cases of brazen corruption, and granting of soft landing to indicted politicians were among the reasons given for his sack.
To up the ante with a clear message, more than ever, the president needs to listen to the voices of over 150 Million Nigerians who are worried about the sanctity and independence of our justice system. Judicial rascality and law breaking with impunity has become unchecked among the overzealous anti-graft bodies. The trending news of N10 Million bribery scandal rocking the CCT Chairman is one song on the lips of every Nigerian that will not fade away easily. It is hard to juxtapose the realization that a bribe taker will even attempt a rendition of the judicial creed on another ‘’corrupt’’ individual, this is a crazy trend that requires an urgent intervention.
Mr Dan Ladi was caught in the act demanding and receiving Ten Million Naira bribe from a retired comptroller of customs, Rasheed Taiwo to quash a case against him. The payment was agreed to be effected in instalments, Mr Taiwo fulfilled a portion of that agreement by depositing the sum of One million, eight hundred thousand naira into Umar’s Personal Assistant’s account- Abdullahi Gambo who withdrew the money on behalf of his boss the same day. When the CCT chairman pestered further for the balance and Taiwo couldn’t meet up he decided to lodge an official complaint at the EFCC.
The EFCC indeed investigated the matter and found some shady dealings with exchange of text messages and signed documents as evidence of transaction. While the melee was ongoing One George Uboh submitted a petition to the Senate through the clerk accusing the EFCC of graft bothering on funds misappropriation, in a bid to fight back using the available pawn, Mr Lamorde engaged the services of Umar in a trade by barter where as his case was stood down on personal recognition in order to use the CCT to get back at the Senate Chairman Bukola Saraki.
Summarily, what we’ve witnessed in the last couple of weeks is a classical example of judges bias to taint a case in an ungodly way to perpetrate their nefarious acts.
While the EFCC chair has been sacked, his accomplice Umar Dan Ladi must be shown the exit as well.
How can a justice receive a bribe but not removed and prosecuted? It becomes clearer, why justice was hard to come by and the brazen disregard for rule of law in the #CCT Vs #Saraki Trial.
The social media space is agog with different hashtags like #CCTBribery, #CCTScandal, #CCTChairman to express their discontent as they prevail on the presidency to not turn a deaf ear on sensitive issues like this capable of truncating his fight against corruption.
Observers opined that any attempt by Mr Umar Danladi to continue to preside over the affairs of further tribunal hearings will be tantamount to putting a round peg in a square hole.
Angry Nigerians took turns on Social media to voice their disgust and support Buhari’s anti corruption campaign to do the needful in series of tweets.
@gbeny007 tweeted – “When you fight corruption be ready to face the tides & swim an ocean, #CCTchairman should clear his name as a matter of urgency”
@EddieMadaki wrote – “Document nailed Danladi #CCTChairman as a corrupt practitioner who involved in bribery which is punishable under law https://t.co/Vio0oNwpHU“
@Freak4all said – “President Buhari must not Look away, you’ve done well with Lamorde now sack DanLadi”
The vituperations are growing louder by the day for Dan Ladi Umar stomach, hence my recommendation that he resigns by toeing the path of honour for the good of our judicial system rather than waiting in line to be sacked.
This is a necessary step to cleanse the infectious system to restore parity, and redeem the court’s image as the last hope of the common man.
The latest ruling by Supreme Court this morning halting further proceedings in the trial of Senate President Bukola Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal pending the determination of the appeal filed before the court further shows how the CCT and its Counsel Rotimi Jacobs have compromised the judges decisions previously to rule in their favour.
Should Umar Dan Ladi refuse to tow the path of honour, in line with Buhari’s change mantra, he should be sacked and replaced with immediate effect.
Kuddi Haastrups writes from Baltimore, Maryland
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