By Eric Alagala
Details emerged on Tuesday of an angry letter of protest the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Mahmoud Muhammed, penned to President Muhammadu Buhari in the aftermath of the raid on homes of senior judges and their subsequent arrest by operatives of the Department of State Services over the weekend.
A source who saw the letter told the Nigerian Times that Justice Muhammed left very little unsaid about various attempts by senior members of the administration to bribe judges and subvert the cause of justice.
In the letter, the out-going CJN directly named Rotimi Amaechi, former governor of Rivers State and current minister of Transport and Daura Lawal, Buhari’s nephew and DG of DSS, of shopping for favourable judgments with “sacks of dollars” during the sitting of the Rivers State Governorship Elections Tribunal, which sat in Abuja.
The CJN alleged that both men followed up the matter to the Supreme Court with the “sacks of dollars”. They are said to have done everything to swing the Court’s decision in favour of the APC candidate.
The candidate of the All Peoples Congress (APC) Dakuku Peterside on whose behalf Daura and Amaechi were moving sacks of dollars, won at the Appeals Court but was flattened out at the Supreme Court. One of the judges arrested by the DSS, Justice Muazu Pindiga, was head of the Rivers State governorship Elections Petitions Tribunal before he was removed for untold reasons.
A flustered Buhari was said to be reeling at the directness of the CJN’ s letter and the gravity of the accusation.
Nigerian Times learnt from a source in the Villa that given the CJN’s disgust at the DSS action on the judges, the Presidency is worried that if the content of the letter became public, it would make nonsense of the government’s much vaunted war on corruption.
He said President Buhari’s dilemma arose from the fact the normally unflappable CJN did not mince words in the letter and had been was livid with rage in an initial meeting with the President where he first made the allegation before the President asked him to put it down in writing. The source said that with Justice Mahmoud due for retirement in November, which is barely one month away, there’s no telling what he could do particularly as the DSS by insinuating that the National Judicial Council, which he heads as chairman, was shielding corrupt judges from justice.
The source said the Presidency has moved to enlist it’s friends in the media to cushion the effect the letter might have on the citizenry should it be leaked. He said to stave off that eventuality the presidency has deployed media hacks to smother the story. A planned leak to journalists is to the effect that a letter from the CJN to Buhari exists but it’s by no stretch a protest letter.
“The stories will go out in the next few hours and the concerned media outfits have already been put on standby. The idea is to water down the effect any sudden leak of the letter might have,”our source said.
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