President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday said he never asked anyone to induce judges to pervert the course of Justice. He also said he had nothing to do with the travails of more than 12 judges, including two Justices of the Supreme Court.
The President made the explanation through a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu.
Those under investigation by the Department of State Service (DSS) are two Supreme Court Justices Sylvester Ngwuta and Inyang Okoro; the suspended Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Ilorin Division, Justice Mohammed Ladan Tsamiya, who was picked up in Sokoto; Justice Adeniyi Ademola( Federal High Court); the Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice I. A. Umezulike; Justice Kabiru Auta of Kano State High Court; Justice Muazu Pindiga (Gombe State High Court); Justice Bashir Sukola and Justice Ladan Manir, from the Kaduna State High Court.
Of the nine judges, the NJC has recommended sanctions for Justice Mohammed Ladan Tsamiya; the erstwhile Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice I. A. Umezulike; and Justice Kabiru Auta.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission( EFCC) is investigating the following judges of the Federal High Court: Justices Mohammed Nasir Yunusa; Hyeladzira Ajiya Nganjiwa; Musa Haruna Kurya; Agbadu James Fishim; Uwani Abba Aji; and Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia.
It would be recalled that Justice Okoro had claimed that the Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi approached him and said the President was interested in the outcome of the election petitions in Akwa Ibom and Rivers states.
But the President Buhari said he had never approached any judge to win his cases between 2003 and 2011.
The statement said: “President Muhammadu Buhari would be the last person to authorise anybody to induce a judge to pervert the course of justice.
“Despite his personal familiarity with some court judges, the President had never used that familiarity to seek favours from them from 2003, 2007 and 2011 when he was challenging the fairness of the presidential election results, from the lowest to the highest courts in the land during the periods in question.
“As a politician, Buhari had never once ever suggested to his lawyers to approach any judge for assistance to win his cases. The President lives by this principle and has never deviated from it.”
On the fate of the Judges facing corruption allegations, the Presidential Media Aide said: “The President doesn’t tell Courts how to do their jobs and that anybody accused of corruption is protected by law to defend their innocence.
“The purpose of the law is to punish the guilty and acquit the innocent. The law protects the rights of everyone.
“The President doesn’t have any powers to force any court to convict anybody who is innocent. In a democratic society that cannot happen without resistance by the people.”