A coalition of civil society organizations have filed a petition at the National Judicial Council (NJC), against Justice AT Badamasi, judge of the Kano state high court who granted an order stopping the Kano State House of Assembly from proceeding with its probe into the state governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, who is accused of collecting $5 million dollars bribe payment from contractors.
The five CSOs, led by Deji Adeyanju and Nwazurahu Henry of Concerned Nigerians and Leadership and Accountability Initiative groups respectively, urged the NJC to launch an investigation into how Justice Badamasi issued the order which effectively shields and protects Ganduje against the probe on alleged bribe-taking.
The three other groups are Good Governance Group, African Students Education Support and Team Alliance Nigeria.
In a statement issued to journalists in Abuja on Monday, the groups condemned justice Badamasi’s injunction order against the Kano Assembly probe panel, as an unfortunate move which casts doubt on his integrity and expertise as a judge.
“We are shocked that a judge can issue an order to prevent the legislative arm of government from its constitutional role of investigating corruption against the executive arm of government bordering on breaching extant laws on contract award and bribe collection.,” the group said.
According to them, the petition written on November 9, 2018 against the Kano judge was submitted to the NJC chairman Justice Walter Onnoghen.
“We are aware that the provisions of Section 153 of the 1999 Constitution has vested the NJC with the powers to sanction errant judges, who are found to have breached the rules of their profession,” the statement read.
“It is unbelievable that justice AT Badamasi would cross the line to issue the order preventing the investigation of bribery allegations against the head of the executive arm of government. The legislature is empowered to probe the executive according sections 128 and 129 of the 1999 constitution.
“This is why we found it appropriate to write a petition against the judge’s questionable order which is in conflict with the 1999 Constitution, in order to prevent him from abusing the judiciary in a selfish attempt to shield people accused of committing crime against reaping what they had sown.
“We are certain that a thorough investigation by the NJC into how this questionable injunction was issued and the subsequent punishment of all those found to be wanting in the process would restore confidence of Nigerians in the Judiciary, as well as reassure us all that the judicial arm is doing its job in the best interest of the common man,” the group added.