The reluctance of Justice Abdukadir Abdu-Kafarati of the Federal High Court Abuja to strike out Bukola Abiku Mesujamba's case instead of disqualifying himself from a suit that lacks merit portrays Kafarati as one of the more lurid examples of disgraceful judges on the Nigerian bench.
Yesterday, Kafarati was forced to recluse himself from the case filed by Bukola Abiku Mesujamba (BAMS), seeking an order to stop his on and off, off and on, trial for false assets declaration before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) due to the report by SaharaReporters which alleged that N2 billion bribery was traced to his bank account by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
“If I grant the prayers of the applicant, the reading public will say yes, the judge has been compromised,” Kafarati bemoans. “If I refuse the prayers, they will say the judge has been threatened or intimidated. The most honorable thing for me to do,” continued Kafarati, “is to disqualify myself from this case and return the file to the Chief Judge of the federal High Court for re-assignment,” Kafarati explains. Explaining the legal dilemma he found himself, Kafarati says, “It is unfortunate that we don't have the appropriate laws to take care of this. As it stands, I am caught between two devils.”
SaharaReporters had reported that “the judge had been found to have N2 billion in his account according to sources at the EFCC which he claimed to have made from farming.”
Since the trial of BAMS began, he has strenuously, albeit unsuccessfully, been on the auction block on a shopping frenzy to buy cash and carry judges that would quash his case. Despite the fact that the Supreme Court, the highest court of the land, sided with the CCT to proceed with the case, BAMS still went ahead through his lawyer Ajibola Oloyede, who secretly filed a lawsuit with Justice Kafarati to disqualify the CCT Judge Danlami Umar and stop the trial of BAMS.
Justice is supposed to be blind. One would like to think that our justices and judges are defined by respect, duty, dignity, probity, and impartiality. But behind Kafarati's iconic black robe, isn't always a tireless drive to uphold the Constitution and laws of the the land. Some of these corrupt judges are worse than the criminals they should be sentencing. Kafarati is one of the judges in our judicial system that will make you question your faith in our legal system.
Kafarati, a criminally negligent judge whose actions smack of a high octane corruption is one of the most crooked judges in the judiciary. He has shown wanton disregard to the law through corruption in several cases that earned him N2 billion. A judge who was ready to quash BAMS case in contradiction to the Supreme Court ruling only serves to benefit the rich and the powerful like BAMS and more importantly, to swell his own bank account, while trampling the rights of the innocent and the down trodden.
There is huge amount of bribery in Nigeria courts, perhaps more than in the courts of any country in the world. Nearly all bribes are given to the judges by lawyers; this is considered the safe way to bribe a judge. Imagine the scenario: BAMS pays huge amount of money to Kanu Agabi his lead lawyer with connections. Agabi walks around with a certain amount of cash in his jacket, and he passes it to Kafarati in his quiet moments together. It is mostly all cash of course. Sometimes, the bribery is blatantly obvious because of the other crimes of “palm greasing” Agabi and Kafarati are used to. Once the deal is done, justice comes to a screeching halt in Kafarati's courtroom!
What the hell was Kafarati thinking about when he agreed to hear the case in which the Supreme Court had overruled a lower court like Kafaratis if not because Kafarati's court has adopted the misanthrope's faux-naif pose in taking up BAMS's case. Kafarati has acted like the creepy alien children of Village of the Damned.
Our justices and judges have become a laughing stock to the world, thanks to judge Kafarati's toe-curling rulings. A nation of criminally corrupt junkie judges like Kafarati leaves us shaking our heads, muttering, “where do they find these type of judges and who made them judges over us?” Nigerian courts are full of incompetent judges, partisan judges, insane judges, mean judges, and of course corrupt judges on a mission that has little to do with justice. Judge Kafarati stands out above the rest.
Now, my turn to grill the billionaire cash and carry judge Kafarati.
Judge, which law school did you graduate from? What makes Supreme Court supreme? Which court has the final say in a case? Which court is subordinate to the other – the Supreme Court or the lower court? Has the lower court such as your court has the power to review and revise the ruling of a Supreme Court? Where in the Constitution a lower court like you is given the power to overrule a case that has been decided by a Supreme Court?
Have you ever received bribe from litigants in exchange for granting frivolous adjournments? What's the history behind your reputation as a judge known as “being susceptible to corruption? Have you ever received money from BAMS or his agent Agabi? If so, how much are we talking about? Which part of the SaharaReporters' story is true and untrue? What's the name of your farm where you reap N2 billion harvest? Where is it located? Can you take us on tour of your farm? What type of farming is your specialty? Poultry? Piggery? Fishery? Goats? Sheep? Turkey? Can you show us the receipts as evidence that the N2 billion was made from the farm? I don't believe there is no appropriate law to prove your innocence of the alleged N2 billion bribe in your bank account. Why not sue SaharaReporters or EFCC just to clear your name?
I challenge you to answer these questions publicly. In the end all it takes to retrieve your soiled name and stained reputation is one brave act: come clean of the allegations and clear your name. Anything short of this, judge Kafarati, you're a disgrace to the bench.