The National Judicial Council (NJC) has condemned the actions of Senator Adamu Bulkachuwa where he suggested in comments on the floor of the Senate that he influenced his wife and former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa to deliver certain judgments.
The NJC condemned the comments “in the strongest terms as an affront on the integrity and independence of the Judiciary,” a member of the Council and President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN, has disclosed.
Maikyau also insisted that the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) should immediately invite Senator Ahmad Muhammad Bulkachuwa for interrogation and proceed to prosecute him accordingly.
But the former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Prof. Chidi Odinkalu, is unimpressed by the NBA President’s comments and the seeming silence of the NJC.
Said Odinkalu on his Twitter handle: “Yesterday, the @njcNig rose from its 102nd statutory meeting without saying a word on the confessions #ChezBulkachuwa. Instead, the president of @NigBarAssoc, @YCMaikyauSAN, himself a member of the NJC issued this statement which had elements of the odd & bizarre.
“The @NigBarAssoc president describes Adamu Bulkachuwa as guilty of “disgusting & despicable conduct” & took liberty to announce that the @njcNIG “condemned the actions of the senator in the strongest terms….” There are many problems with this statement. Let me point out a few:
“1st, it’s not clear what “conduct” the NJC purportedly condemned: the fact that Adamu Bulkachuwa confessed or the acts he confessed to. As to the former, he was a beneficiary of Parliamentary privilege; as to the latter, the NJC cannot condemn what it’s chosen not to investigate.
“2nd, it is odd that the president of @NigBarAssoc shd presume to issue a statement for @njcNIG. Although he is a member of the NJC, he is not its chairperson or presiding officer nor its spokesperson. The capacity in which he announced the NJC’s condemnation is dubious:
“Third, if @njcNIG can’t condemn what it has not investigated & the president of @NigBarAssoc can’t become spokesperson of the NJC without proper appointment, it shd be clear, 3rdly, that any claim about him on the “integrity & independence of the judiciary” are a set up.
“What seems clear on the face of this statement is this: the @njcNIG met & failed, refused, or neglected to adopt a position on the most serious issue affecting judicial integrity in #Nigeria. The president of @NigBarAssoc, which is on the NJC, then issued a statement as cover up.
“If anything is “disgusting & despicable,” this is it. The fact that the @njcNIG is unwilling & unable to as a statutory & constitutional body to establish the factual bases for issuing a condemnation in this circumstance stands as damnation of that body under current leadership.
“Let’s be clear: @njcNIG as the institution responsible to investigate the facts of what Adamu Bulkachuwa said & its effects on the judicial system, has instead chosen to #Unlook. This is a disgrace. They spit at the judicial independence & integrity that they claim to defend.”
But the NBA President, Maikyau, in his statement on Wednesday said: “My attention was drawn to a viral video clip on the social media, of the comments made by Senator Adamu Muhammad Bulkachuwa on the floor of the Senate on Monday, 12 June 2023, at the valedictory session of the Senate of the 9th Assembly, before he was interrupted and stopped by the then Senate President Ahmed Lawan. Senator Bulkachuwa, in his remarks, amongst other things, referred to “confidential dealings” he had had with some of his colleagues in the Senate, and went on to say:
““I look at faces in this chamber whom have come to me and sought for my help when my wife was the President of the Court of Appeal, and I’m sure…
In his concluding remarks, he said:
And I must thank particularly, my wife, whose freedom and independence I encroached upon while she was in office, and she has been very tolerant and accepted my encroachment, and extended her help to my colleagues…”
“All these were amidst several interjections by the Senate President. Probably, if the Senate President had not interrupted Senator Bulkachuwa, he would have made more vital/useful revelations that would have provided specific details of the “confidential dealings of one sort or the other” he allegedly had with some of his colleagues in which according to him, “I did my best and in most cases I succeeded”. Notwithstanding however, given the office held by his wife which he clearly mentioned in his remarks, no one would be left in doubt as to the sort of help he either succeeded or did not succeed in securing for his colleagues, with whom he had since become good friends and still remain good friends. These colleagues, according to him, only “thanked me for what I have done with words of mouth, that was all.”
“The statements were clearly admissions by the Senator, that he did attempt to, and/or actually perverted the course of justice/interfered with due administration of justice, which makes him liable to be investigated and prosecuted even on his admission. That this came with a huge negative impact on the integrity and the independence of the Judiciary can only be an understatement.
“At the 102nd meeting of the National Judicial Council (NJC) held today, 14 June 2023, I took the liberty of my membership of the Council to complain about the rather disgusting and despicable conduct of Senator Bulkachuwa, which was a direct attack on the integrity of the Judiciary.
“The NJC condemned the actions of the Senator in the strongest terms as an affront on the integrity and independence of the Judiciary. I made it clear to the Council that, while the NBA will at all times rise to the defence of the honour, integrity and independence of the judiciary, we shall not hesitate to take on anyone, either within or outside the legal
profession, who takes steps or makes statements that are capable of undermining the independence of the judiciary and the impartiality judicial processes.
“It is in this regard that I call on the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), to immediately invite Senator Ahmad Muhammad Bulkachuwa for interrogation and proceed to prosecute him accordingly. I shall write a letter to both the IGP and the ICPC Chairman in this respect.
“We reiterate our commitment to the maintenance and defence of the integrity and independence of the Judiciary in Nigeria, within the bounds of the law, irrespective of the personalities involved.”