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Retired Justice Ayo Salami rejects NJC appointment

A former President of the Court of Appeal, Retired Justice Ayo Salami, has rejected his appointment as chairman of the Corruption and Financial Crime Cases Trial Monitoring Committee (COTRIMCO). A source from the office of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) confirmed this during a telephone interview on Thursday in Abuja. The rejection was based on principle and conscience after the retired judge was appointed to head the committee by the National Judicial Council (NJC) last month. Justice Salami was said to have consulted widely with leaders on the Bench and in the Bar before resolving with his family to reject the offer. On September 27, the NJC named Justice Salami the Chairman of COTRIMCO during its 82nd meeting in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital. The 15-man committee consists of the President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Mr Abubakar Mahmoud, and some former presidents of the association. They include Mr Wole Olanipekun, Mr Olisa Agbakoba, Mr Joseph Daudu and Mr Augustine Alegeh, as well as some state chief justices among others. Less than a week after, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) wrote to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, asking him to review the composition of the committee. In the letter dated October 3, SERAP had said: “While international law does not prohibit some representation of the legal profession or academics, we urge your Lordship to select candidates from these fields to the Salami committee based on their demonstrable commitment to the fight against corruption, and after extensive consultation, and a thorough scrutiny of the candidates’ past record of legal practice, to eliminate all possibilities of bias and conflict of interest.”

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