Monday, 21 November 2016

As trial of judges is set to begin: How last-minute efforts to save them crumbled


Never has the judiciary, the third arm of government, in the country’s democracy faced the kind of crisis that has bedeviled it in the last three months. The crisis is such that it has not only impinged on its integrity, it has also substantially eroded public confidence in the sacredness of the justice system in Nigeria vis-a-vis the aphorism that the judiciary is the last hope of the common man. 

The last crisis that shook the judiciary occurred five years ago, after the then President of the Court of Appeal (PCA), Justice Ayo Salami, accused the then Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Aloysius Katsina-Alu, of pressurising him to pervert the course of justice in Sokoto State governorship election case. 

Meanwhile, barring any last-minute intervention, the expectation is that Ngwuta may, tomorrow, enter the dock to take his plea to a 14-count criminal charge preferred against him by the Federal Government. He is to be arraigned before Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court, Abuja. The immediate past CJN, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, had explained why the NJC barred the accused judges from further presiding over cases.