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Uzodimma: US Denied Supreme Court Justices Visa – Donald Duke

A former governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, has said the seven Supreme Court Justices, who delivered the judgement that declared Hope Uzodinma as the Imo State governor, were all recently denied visas to attend a judges’ conference in the US, Leadership reports.

He made the claim at the launch of the memoir of retired judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Charles Archibong, titled, “A Stranger In Their Midst’’.

Duke, who noted that the United States Embassy in Nigeria took the action in view of the miscarriage of justice that occurred in the case, also alleged that all the aides, who applied alongside the justices, were all granted US visas.

Recall that the apex court in an unanimous judgement of a seven-member panel, read by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, the court had held that results in 388 polling units were unlawfully excluded during the collation of the final governorship election result in Imo State.

The names of other justices on the panel are Justice Tanko Muhammad, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, Justice Nwali Sylvester Ngwuta, Justice Amiru Sanusi, Justice Amina Augie and Justice Uwanimusa Abba Aji.

While delivering a keynote address at the event, Duke said, “Apart from the recent cases, there is another one where number four became number one, the justices that gave that judgment cannot go to the United States today because they have been denied visas.

“They want to go on a retreat. Their aides were given visas but they were not given. How much disgrace can we take as a nation before we say enough is enough?

“I am sure this current set will also be denied visas because it is ridiculous, you did not partake in a process but they found a way to dismiss the case procedurally,” he said.

Also at the event, a former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Dr Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) described the National Judicial Council (NJC) as a toothless bulldog.

Agbakoba, pointed out that the fact that the NJC is controlled by the Chief Justice of Nigeria who appoints 50 of its 60 members makes the council inefficient and ineffective.

He said most of the judicial officers in the country live in fear of the executive and its agencies because they are poorly paid and their retirement benefits are nothing to write home about.

The senior lawyer stated, “The conditions of service of the judiciary are terrible. It means they can be controlled. Those who don’t want to just take it easy and keep their heads down are strangers in their midst.

“We should not put our judges in a position where they can be tempted,” Agbakoba said..

On his own part, a former member of the House of Representatives, Abdul Oroh, shared his experience when he served on the House Judiciary Committee.

According to him, the top echelon of the Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) is responsible for corrupting judges.

‘A Stranger in Their Midst’ is a 228-page autobiography focusing on the judicial career of Mr. Justice Charles Archibong at the Federal High Court in several locations across the country.

Justice Archibong served on the bench of the Federal High Court from 2002 to 2013.

The book details matters that came before Justice Archibong during his time as a Federal Judge. His characteristic approach to adjudication was a decided bent toward the speedy conclusion of proceedings before him.

The cases ranged from the abduction of a sitting state governor, the recall of the Deputy Senate President, a trial of activists of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, to pushing through trial a claim against federal authorities over the publication of an air accident report, oil magnates and communications czars tangling with their creditors.

“Things reach a climax when Justice Archibong collides with senior lawyers engaged on behalf of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to conduct a major criminal trial and about the same time the Judge gets caught in the crossfire of feuding political bigwigs fighting for the control of party-political structures. These conflicts will lead to the premature termination of his judicial career,” Duke said.


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