By Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
Irked by continuous ignominy and disregard to Supreme Court’s Judgment under the current administration, lawyers, including Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SAN, are making dangerous moves to restore the image and dignity of the judiciary, an insider has revealed.
Some of the options being considered to use to remedy the situation and bring back the diminished impact of the Third Arm of government, among others, includes plans to expose President Muhammadu Buhari’s confidants, beginning with Comptroller-General of Customs, CGC, Col. Hameed Ali.
Ali, according to some angry human rights lawyers, has completely inherited and taken queue from the President’s attitudes towards judgment of Supreme Court of Nigeria.
Most recent and worrisome is the lack of compliance, six months after Supreme Court judgment and orders, mandating Nigeria Custom Services, NCS, to reinstate one Comptroller Abdullahi Bello Gusau, for unlawful and premature retirement.
The Supreme Court, in a copy of the judgment delivered in April 7, 2017, by Justice Ejembi Eko, and made available to journalists in Kaduna, affirmed Appeal Court judgment, including the consequential orders, and mandated the CG to reinstate Gusau together with all the consequential orders of the Supreme Court of Nigeria as contained in the judgment.
The Court also made declarations that the purported retirement of the plaintiff (Bello Gusau) by the second defendant (Customs) is unlawful, malicious, irregular and fragrant violation of the plaintiff’s right of employment until the mandatory retirement age.
Supreme Court’s 5-man panels of Justice, headed by CJN, Walter S.N. Onnoghen, also made an order affirming Appeal Court judgment and the purported retirement of the plaintiff by 1st and 2nd defendant’s public notice as unlawful.
The Court, therefore, ordered the defendant to allow the Compt. Gusau to resume work and also maintain his positions as Comptroller of Customs and be paid all his benefits and emoluments and enjoy his lawful promotions.
The judgment and orders of the Supreme Court of Nigeria were duly served on the CG of Customs on the 10th, 13th and 21st days of April, 2017, respectively, and also acknowledged receipts, but same was not complied with.
“Our client was unlawfully retired premature on 21st December, 2009, more than 7 years ago, by the former CG of Customs, Dikko Indes’ administration, who was arrested by EFCC over allegations of N42 billion fraud, and diversion of public funds of N40 billion from Customs coffers, criminal conspiracy, theft, abuse of offices and living above his legitimate means. Dikko Inde refunded N1 billion, according to national daily.
“Despite several letters of reminders we wrote to the CGC and finance minister requesting for compliance with Supreme Court judgment, over five months ago, they refused to comply,” the solicitors added.
CC Bello Gusau’s purported retirement from customs years ago occurred four (4) days after he uncovered over N1.3 billion fraud through online audit through Single Goods Declaration Audit, SGD, form when he was Comptroller Post Clearance, PCA, at the Customs’ headquarters Abuja, Wuse zone 3, in December, 2009.
“I audited only 20 SGDs online and discovered gross underpayment of import duty revenue amounting to over N1.3 billion at Apapa Port Area Command, while over hundreds of SGDs forms where generated daily in the Area Command,” he revealed.
It would be recalled that CC Gusau challenged the unlawful retirement of his permanent and pensionable appointment at the Federal High Court Abuja, the matter that reached Court of Appeal Abuja and Supreme Court of Nigeria, where Gusau emerged victorious in both Court of Appeal and Supreme Court of Nigeria, respectively.