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My Colleagues Betrayed Me – Justice Isa Ayo Salami



Retired President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Isa Ayo Salami, yesterday, likened himself to the biblical Joseph, saying he was betrayed and sold out by most of his hitherto trusted friends and colleagues on the Bench.

Salami who spoke at a valedictory court session that was organized in his honour by the Court of Appeal in Abuja, said he was a victim of executive witch-hunt, stressing that the National Judicial Council, NJC, played into the hands of desperate politicians that wanted his ouster by all means.

He maintained that the NJC, by its actions and conduct with regards to all the issues that culminated to his suspension on August 18, 2010, grossly failed in its duties and functions as a revered arm of the Nigerian judiciary.

Justice Salami argued that not only was the NJC wrong in suspending him even though it lacked the constitutional powers to do so, he said the legal body also acted wrongly when it asked President Goodluck Jonathan to okay his removal from office.

He wondered why the NJC which is created by the Constitution to protect judicial officers (judges), abandoned its responsibilities and sold out in his case.


“The last three years of my career were dogged by travails which are not dissimilar to the fate of Joseph in the book of Genesis in the Bible.

“As his brothers conspired to destroy him by throwing him into a well and selling him into slavery, my learned brothers and friends in the legal profession planned and executed same evil to me.

“The National Judicial Council, NJC, created by the Constitution to protect me, nay any judicial officer, was on the vanguard of my travails. The NJC failed in its duties and thereby surrendered its functions to the Executive arm of government thus, ingratiate itself to the Executive.

“For instance, the NJC having cleared me of any wrongdoing, following the recommendations of Justice Aloma Mukhtar’s committee, ought to have recalled me to office without asking the President to exercise the power that he does not possess, on the flimsy excuse that it had earlier referred the matter to him.”

“In truth, as a matter of courtesy, all it needed to do was to write the President that in view of its recent decision, this matter was now outside his purview. After so informing him, NJC would be free to take the necessary step to implement its decision.


“The position in which NJC has found itself is similar to that of the proverbial cock that betrayed itself to the fox that what was on his head was not fire and encouraged the fox to touch it.”

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