The National Judicial Council (NJC) has said that President Goodluck Jonathan has no power or role under the 1999 constitution or any other law to recall or reinstate the suspended president of the court of appeal, Justice Isa Ayo Salami or any other justices of the appellate court.
The council insisted that the power to recall suspended Justice Salami solely and exclusively belongs to it without any recourse to the direction or authority of any other person outside the council including the president.
In a reaction to a court action instituted against President Goodluck Jonathan by 11 human rights activists challenging the continued suspension of Justice Salami, the NJC agreed with the activists that the president has no role to play in the recall of the embattled appeal court president.
In a suit filed at a Federal High Court in Abuja by its counsel Mister Usman Isah, the NJC which on August 18, 2011 suspended Justice Salami from office over a dispute ,submitted that the exercise of disciplinary power and recall of a suspended justice of court of appeal is exclusively vested in it by the constitution as amended.
The council also agreed that the continued stay in office by the acting president of the court of appeal Justice Dalhatu Adamu was illegal and unconstitutional by virtue of section 238(5) of the 1999 constitution.
In specific terms, the NJC canvassed that Justice Adamu cannot be re-appointed by President Jonathan after the expiration of the three months in office without the recommendation of the council and that as such the continued stay in office by Adamu be voided.
11 human right activists had dragged President Goodluck Jonathan and the national judicial council (NJC) to a Federal High Court in Abuja seeking an order of mandamus to compel them to recall justice salami from his suspension.
The activists comprising four lawyers also applied for an order compelling the acting president of the appellate court Justice Dalhatu Adamu to immediately vacate office having been illegally re-appointed beyond three months by President Jonathan.
The NJC in a clear departure from the earlier position asked Justice Adamu Bello to give judgment in favour of the activists that salami be brought back without any recourse to the power or authority of anybody including the president.
The NJC also agreed that the re-appointment of Justice Adamu was illegal and should be voided.
Justice Adamu Bello has however ordered parties in the suit to file and exchange their written addresses and fixed December 4 for adoption.