The National Judicial Council (NJC) has appointed a former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Isa Ayo Salami as the chairman of its Corruption and Financial Crime Cases Trial Monitoring Committee (COTRIMCO).
The committee which was established by the Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman of NJC, Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen is to monitor and evaluate proceedings at designated courts for financial and economic crimes nationwide.
The body which has 15 members will operate from the Council Secretariat.
Other members of the committee are the Chief Judge of Borno State, Justice Kashim Zannah (OFR), Chief Judge of Imo State, Justice P.O. Nnadi, Chief Judge of Delta State, Justice Marsahal Umukoro and the Chief Judge of Oyo State, Justice M. L. Abimbola,
Also on the committee are the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. A.B Mahmoud OON, SAN, four past NBA Presidents including Chief Wole Olanipekun, Mr. Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, Mr. J.B Daudu SAN and Mr. Augustine Alegeh SAN.
Others are two members of NJC: Dr. Garba Tetengi SAN, and Mrs. R.I Inga while representatives of Non-Governmental Organisations, Ministry of Justice, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and the Secretary of NJC, Gambo Saleh also made the committee’s list.
Justice Salami, it would be recalled, fought his friend and former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloy Katsina Alu in an unprecedented manner over what he called his alleged strange involvement in professional misconduct as the head of the judiciary.
His action brought to the fore the error in the composition of NJC and exposed the danger of making a serving Chief Justice of Nigeria as the chairman of the Council.
Although he was suspended at a time by the NJC when the war between him and Justice Katsina Alu was very hot, he was later recalled by the same NJC after various committees set up by the Council returned conflicting finds.
He was however allowed to bow out of the bench honourably.
In a release signed by its Director of Information, Mr Soji Oye, he said the decision to establish the nmonitoring committee by NJC was taken on Wednesday at the 82nd meeting of the Council.
The Committee’s primary functions, according to the release signed by Soji Oye, include:
- Regular monitoring and evaluation of proceedings at designated courts for financial and economic crimes nationwide;
- Advising the Chief Justice of Nigeria on how to eliminate delay in the trial of alleged corruption cases;
- Giving feedback to the Council on progress of cases in the designated courts, conduct background checks on judges selected for the designated courts; and
- Evaluating the performance of the designated courts.
“It will be recalled that the Chief Justice of Nigeria in his speech at the Special Session of the Supreme Court of Nigeria to mark the commencement of the 2017/2018 Legal Year, emphasized on the concerns expressed by members of the public on the very slow speed with which corruption cases were being heard or determined by the Court.
“Consequently, he directed all Heads of Courts to compile and forward to the Council, comprehensive lists of all corruption and financial crime cases being handled by their various Courts.
“He also directed them to designate in their various jurisdictions one or more Courts, as Special Courts solely for the purpose of hearing and speedily determining corruption and financial crimes cases.
“The Supreme Court of Nigeria and the Court of Appeal were equally directed to fix special date in each week for hearing and determining appeals from such cases.
“ The Committee is expected to drive the Council’s new policy on anti-corruption war.