On assumption of office as the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), His Lordship, Justice Dahiru Musdapher acknowledged the fact that there was rot in the Nigerian judiciary that needs to be sanitized to restore the confidence of Nigerians in the judiciary. In line with this transformation agenda, the CJN inaugurated a 28-man panel comprising of former Chief Justices of Nigeria, past Presidents of the Nigerian Bar Association and other members of the Bench with impeccable record to assist in the reform agenda.
While this reform is ongoing, some judges are bent on frustrating these efforts by engaging in corrupt practices such as financial inducement of their colleagues in order to misdirect the course of justice.
One of these Judges is Justice Mohammed Ladan Tsamiya, the Presiding Judge of the Court of Appeal, Makurdi Division. Justice Tsamiya apart from been a card carrying member of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), he has remained a clog in the wheel of the present transformation exercise in the judiciary. Justice Tsamiya was very instrumental in the bribe scandal that rocked the Court of Appeal, Sokoto Division where most of the cases against the PDP pending before the Court of Appeal were dismissed on mere technicality that pre-Hearing under paragraph 18(1) of the First Schedule to the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) was improperly invoked by the Petitioners through a Letter.
Secondly, Justice Tsamiya participated actively in receiving bribe on behalf of the Judges of the Court of Appeal, Kaduna Division in order for them to dismiss all cases against the PDP pending before their court. When the issue of who will deliver Benue State to the PDP arose, again Justice Tsamiya was handy to complete the hatchet job. His court dismissed Prof Steve Torkuma Ugbah and the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Governorship Petition on the issue of Pre-Hearing even though a full panel of Judges of the Court of Appeal, Jos Division had ruled that pre-hearing could be invoked by a letter and that leave of the Tribunal was not necessary. He refused to be persuaded by that ruling.
Justice Ladan Tsamiya, JCA enjoys accommodation in Benue State from the PDP-led government of Rt. Hon. Dr. Gabriel Torwua Suswam. The State government is accommodating Tsamiya, JCA in the Commissioners quarters when we are aware of a directive from the President of the Court of Appeal that Judges in the various Divisions of the Court should be independent. On Sunday, November 20, 2011 Justice Ladan Tsamiya drove in a Toyota Land Cruiser SUV with registration number AJ 17 BWR around 10pm to the Deputy Governor of Benue State, Chief Steven Lawani’s residence located inside the Commissioners quarters where he had a meeting with the Governor, Gabriel Torwua Suswam till 2:00am the following morning.
Justice Ladan Tsamiya’s quest for money know no bounds as he has collected huge sums of money from Senator David Mark, the Senate President in order to frustrate the appeal against him by General Lawrence Onoja (Rtd) pending before the Court of Appeal. It has been confirmed that, Onoja has concluded his forensic investigation of the votes cast during the last April Senatorial election in the Benue South District where David Mark was declared winner by INEC. The forensic analysis would assist Onoja unseat Mark and as such the resolve to use Tsamiya to frustrate the case so that the appeal will abate.
Another Judge operating in the same realm is Justice Anondoaver Kakaan of the Benue State Judiciary who is the Chairman of the National Assembly Tribunal sitting in Kebbi. Justice Kakaan was used as the conduit to approach the Justice Daisy Okocha-led Tribunal in the Benue Governorship petition to induce them monetarily. Her refusal led to threats on her life, which eventually led to her withdrawal from the panel. Kakaan was also discovered to be operating over 12 accounts in Nigerian banks some in foreign currency. A formal report was made to the EFCC and NJC upon discovery of these accounts for investigation but to no avail. He was recently sent to Kebbi to retry the petition of Senator Adamu Aliero and upon resumption of the Tribunal, he dismissed the petition on the grounds that 180 days had lapsed in line with Section 285(6) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) a decision which was immediately adopted and cited in the Benue Governorship Tribunal by Counsel to Governor Suswam and the PDP upon a retrial order by the Supreme Court.
Yesterday, November 30, 2011, Justice Aondoaver Kakaan was seen in the late hours at Arcade Suites located along Shehu Shagari way, CBD, Abuja with Justice Ladan Tsamiya, JCA and Prof Bem Angwe; the Executive Secretary of National Human Rights Commission, Abuja exchanging money meant for judges of the Court of Appeal and the recent Tribunal sitting in Makurdi. It will be recalled that, Prof Bem Angwe was the person who facilitated the award of a Ph.D to Governor Gabriel Suswam by the University of Jos in record time of three years. Subsequently, Governor Suswam compensated Prof Bem Angwe when he nominated him for the present office he occupies.
Let the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) be aware that in as much as he wants to reposition the Nigerian Judiciary in order to restore public confidence, some of his colleagues are all out to en-masse wealth using litigants especially those who have very bad cases such as the Governor of Benue State who refused to tender his GCE Certificate and other certificates to INEC during the 2011 general election probably because they were forged but has resorted to bribing the judges so that the mystery behind his certificate is not unraveled.