The retiring President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami, on Thursday opened up on the circumstances that led to his suspension as the President of the Court of Appeal.
Salami spoke in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, during a book presentation by Nigeria Bar Association Ilorin branch. The book is titled: “Nigeria Judiciary: Contemporary Issues on Administration of Justice” and it is written in honour of Salami.
The jurist said that he remained a happy man in spite of his travails, adding that he had never regretted his action in the bench even after being suspended by the National Judicial Council and the subsequent refusal by President Goodluck Jonathan to reinstate him after the NJC lifted the suspension.
He said he was able to prove to the panel that investigated him that he was not responsible for the call logs in which it was alleged that he called some chieftains of the now defunct Action Congress of Nigeria during the appeal in the election suit between ex-Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola as the then candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party; and Governor Rauf Aregbesola as candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria in the 2007 poll.
Salami said he was also vindicated on his altercation with the former Chief Judge of Nigeria, Justice Aloysius Iyorgyer Katsina-Alu.
Salami said, “You are all aware of the call log issue, none of them, not a single one showed that I ever called (Bola) Tinubu, Lai Mohammed, the ACN chieftains they were referring to.
We went to the tribunal with witnesses (experts) who were able to show the NJC that you could use my phone in my pocket to call somebody.
“The experts demonstrated it at NJC. You could use my phone which is in my pocket to send text messages to another person. All these call logs were fake, but we thank God we survived all the efforts to paint us black. A question was asked and I said Kastina-Alu called to ask me to dismiss Sokoto Appeal and he said no he didn’t call for that; that he called to say that the judgment had leaked. He testified before the NJC and I did my own.
“The chairman of the panel said that the information about leakage was derived from the petition written against me. There was nothing of such in the petition against me. So we just leave everything to God Almighty who is the final arbiter.
“I assure you all that in spite of what happened I am a very happy man. I have not for a moment, regretted what I did. I am very happy for what I did and I am proud of what I did. I thank God Almighty.”