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Group Petitions Nigerian Anti-graft Commission, ICPC To Investigate Former Chief Justice, Tanko Muhammad Over Corruption Allegations

SaharaReporters had reported that 14 Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria accused the immediate past CJN of corruption.

A non-governmental organisation, Human & Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Center) has charged the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to commence an investigation into various allegations and counter-allegations against former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad and prosecute anyone found culpable.
SaharaReporters had reported that 14 Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria accused the immediate past CJN of corruption.


It reported that the protesting justices had accused Muhammad of not giving them their legitimate entitlements.

The justices said their annual foreign training, meant to enhance capacity building for the country’s judicial process, had been blocked by Muhammad.

The main issues put forward by the justices in their letter through a welfare committee were non-replacement of poor vehicles; accommodation problem; lack of drugs at the Supreme Court clinic; epileptic electricity supply to the Supreme Court; increase in electricity tariff; no increase in the allowances for diesel; and lack of internet services to residences and chambers.

However, in a petition letter dated June 22, 2022, and addressed to the Chairman of ICPC, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, HEDA urged the Commission to investigate the allegations of corruption, maladministration and incompetence levelled against Muhammad recently by the Justices.
The petition was signed by HEDA Chairman, Mr Olanrewaju Suraju.

The statement partly read, "As a leading Anti-Corruption Organization in Nigeria and Non-partisan human rights and development league with the mandate to protect and promote universally recognized human rights, public accountability, transparency and environmental justice in Nigeria and Africa, in accordance with International best standards, we call on ICPC to commence investigation into the budgetary allocation, utilization and development process of the judiciary with a view to sanitisation of that critical arm of government."
Suraju said that the allegations that the budget of the Judiciary had been operated between the CJN and Registrar of the Court with little knowledge or involvement of the justices of the Court, would promote "opacity, discrimination, favouritism and corruption in the management of the judiciary and more importantly its resources."
He maintained that the recent revelations of abuse of office with respect to funds of the judiciary by the former CJN, adding that the allegation that Tanko Muhammad travelled abroad with wives and children while on official assignments was bad.
He said, "It is unarguable that the Judiciary is the last hope of the helpless and its Judges are only meant to be heard and not seen. However, these allegations made by fellow Justices of the apex Court against the Chief Justice of Nigeria cannot be overlooked as it is weighty and must be diligently investigated by the Commission in order to protect that vital institution.
"If the Supreme Court of Nigeria is infested with corrupt persons, then our democracy is doomed, ICPC and other relevant bodies should rise and act fast to redeem the temple of Justice from possible collapse," he said.
“The public will remember how the same Justice Muhammad surprised the country with the story of his primary school certificate being eaten by vicious termites during screening by the Senate for his confirmation as Chief Justice of Nigeria.
“Recalled Justice Onnoghen, Tanko's predecessor was suspended in 2019 after a civil rights group filed a petition against him at the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).
“Among the allegations levelled against him was owning some secret foreign accounts, which were run in a manner inconsistent with financial transparency and the code of conduct for public officials.
“Although he denied the allegations, Onnoghen was convicted by the Code of Conduct Tribunal on April 18, 2019, for false assets declaration, and banned from holding public office for 10 years.”