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That kangaroo court waiting for Bode George’s appeal

November 15, 2009

The news came with consternation! I first read it in Sahara Reporters, my usually best bet when it comes to reliability and accuracy of information dissemination.  The report says that in a highly suspicious move, the Court of Appeal in Lagos has already given a hearing date of Thursday November 19, 2009, to recently jailed People's Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain, Olabode George.   Saharareporters sources said the court has chosen to hear George's application for bail next Thursday, November 19, at the Court of Appeal complex in Lagos.

In it’s usually characteristics style, the publication went on to unravel the under cover moves by the  PDP, elements to turn the status of Chief Olabode George from being a convict to an ex-convict in a record time of less than one month.

It would be recalled that the former Deputy National Chairman of the PDP and five others were on October 26 jailed by Justice Olubunmi Oyewole of the Ikeja Division of the High Court of Lagos State for contract splitting and other vices against the state while he held sway as Chairman of the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA).

So shocking was the aspect of the report that explains the efforts by ministers in the Yar'Adua’s cabinet to influence the appeal that will get Bode George off the hook, by proposing that Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour be included in the panel. Like George, Justice Rhodes-Vivour is a Lagosian, who has twice, allegedly tried to influence Justice Oyewole while the case lasted in the latter’s domain.

For two other reputable newspapers- The Nation and Tribune, to make the same story their lead to me, the implication of this unfolding drama is that should Bode George’s appeal succeed, then I make bold to submit that all awaiting trial cases involving Nigerians at the High Courts and Appeal courts be dispensed with forth with. They should be granted bail automatically pending when their appeals would be heard. We should not create  first or second class Nigerians in this land.

It is appalling that the “rule of law” dictum in Nigeria as championed by President Umaru Yar’Adua seems to be standing on its head. Placards carrying anti-corruption activists recently marched to the National Assembly calling for the removal of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the federation, Michael Aondoakaa, SAN, on the allegation that his hands are not clean, that he has not been above board as the nation’s number one law officer.

Justice Bode Rhodes Vivour and his likes should be informed that any body who overtly or covertly partake in the scandalous bail application for Chief Olabode George and co, would be treated the as   evil in the Nigerian society.

There is no doubt that the Justice Oyewole’s judgment was heroic. The Judge gave Nigeria and Nigerians hope. No doubt, Nigeria is beginning to work again, moving steadily to the path of glory. This feat must not be allowed to go away.

 Going through the Nation and Tribune newspaper’s report on Chief Olabode George of November 16, 2009, it is very revealing. The Nation newspaper story states and I quote: "A battle line is drawn between the EFCC and the Appeal Court Justice who is desperate to secure bail for Bode George. The EFCC is already contemplating a petition to the NJC over the conduct of the justice."

"During the trial of Bode George, this Appeal Court justice had earlier met with Mr. Justice Olubunmi Oyewole to solicit his assistance to set the ex-PDP chieftain free. Justice Oyewole pretended to be playing along with the judge who in turn assured Bode George that he would not be jailed.  It was on the basis of the assurance that Bode George’s supporters ordered for Aso-ebi which they wore to the Ikeja Court. These supporters also embarked on a pre-judgment feasting on October 25 only to be disappointed when George was jailed. Still not done, the Appeal Court justice still prevailed on Justice Oyewole for a post-conviction bail for the second time. He met a brick wall again in Justice Oyewole, who rejected George’s application for bail."

The paper reported that it was learnt that the justice has been implicated in the hasty manner in which the Court of Appeal wants to hear George’s application for a post-conviction bail.

The Nation Newspaper’s source added: "George’s application was filed last week and it has already been slated for consideration by the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal on November 18. The EFCC’s fear is that the influence-peddling justice may preside over the hearing of the bail application by George at the Court of Appeal”. Must we fold our hands and allow this appeal to succeed?  Tufiakwa, God forbid! Nigerians, NJC, please let us rise up against this evil.


Anthony Afeh




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