The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Sylvester Onnoghen, yesterday, confirmed the rejection of a former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Isa Ayo Salami to chair the Corruption and Financial Crime Cases Trial Monitoring Committee (COTRIMCO).
The Special Assistant to the CJN on Media, Awassam Bassey, stated when a call was put through to him, in Abuja.
When asked to confirm if it was true that Justice Salami turned down the assignment to chair the committee, he said, “I can confirm that it is true; I mean the resignation of Hon. Mr. Justice Ayo Salami (rtd) as the chairman of the Corruption and Financial Crime Cases TrialMonitoring Committee (COTRIMCO).
“However, besides what we see in the media, we cannot exactly say whatthe reasons are for Justice Salami’s decision not to undertake this all-important national assignment that he was called upon to perform.
Hon. Salami says he has sent in a resignation letter to His Lordship, the Hon Chief Justice of Nigeria but that letter has yet to get to the CJN.
“That’s all I can say at this moment. A more detailed explanation, ifit becomes necessary, will be communicated to you when His Lordship receives Hon. Mr. Justice Salami’s letter.”
Salami was named the chair of COTRIMCO, which was set up bythe National Judicial Council (NJC,) on September 27 by the CJN.
The appointment was based on the decision of the NJC at its 82ndmeeting in Abuja.
According to a source, Salami is said to be uncomfortable with the composition of the 15-man committee.
The panel is said to include some members who had been implicated in some conflicting challenges between the Bench and the Bar.
Other members of the committee are; the Chief Judge, Borno state, Justice Kashim Zannah; the Chief Judge of Imo state, Justice P.O. Nnadi; Chief Judge Delta state, Justice Marsahal Umukoro; Chief Judge of Oyo state, Justice M. L. Abimbola.
Others are the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. A.B Mahmoud (SAN); former NBA Presidents, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN); Mr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN); Mr. J.B Daudu (SAN); and Mr. Augustine Alegeh (SAN); Dr. Garba Tetengi (SAN); Mrs. R.I Inga, Representative of Non-Governmental Organisations, Representative from the Ministry of Justice, Representative from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), as well as the Secretary of the NJC, Mr. Gambo Saleh.
The terms of reference of the committee include; regular monitoring and evaluation of proceedings at designated courts for financial andeconomic crimes nationwide.
The committee is also expected to advise the Chief Justice of Nigeria on how to eliminate delay in the trial of alleged corruption cases.