From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad made history as the second Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) to have abruptly resigned from office.
Born on December 31, 1953, his resignation on health grounds is about 18 months ahead of the mandatory retirement age of 70 years.
Although he cited health conditions as grounds for his resignation, there are speculations that his decision may not be unconnected to the raging crisis at the apex court.
In a protest letter addressed to him, 14 Justices of the court accused him of corruption and other administrative lapses bordering on his ineptitude on issues such as Judges’ welfare among others.
The letter which was leaked to the public further fueled the impasse between him and his brother Justices.
The crisis was further escalated by the ex-CJN who in his response to the memo accused his colleagues of dancing naked in the market square.
Daily Sun was told by competent sources of how the Senate and Body of Benchers had waded into the crisis between the aggrieved Justices of the Supreme Court and the retired jurist.
“Several meetings were held last week between the CJN and the 14 aggrieved Justices in an attempt to resolve the crisis, but they all failed as the Justices who threatened to embark on strike, insisted on a thorough and comprehensive investigation of the allegations.
“The Senate President, Ahmed Lawan had directed the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to wade into the crisis on behalf of the upper Legislative Chamber.
“At the early stage of the crisis, the Emir of Lafia, Alhaji Sidi Bage Muhammed 1, who is a retired Justice of the Supreme Court was invited to wade into the crisis but his efforts were unsuccessful,” our sources revealed.
While further attributing Justice Tanko’s sudden resignation to the crisis at the apex court, another source disclosed it got to a point where the 14 justices refused to honour further meetings with the former CJN.
The aggrieved “Lordships” had alleged serious infirmities and irregularities in administration and his commitment and loyalty to the nation’s judiciary.
Other issues were the non-signing of amended Court Rules, an abrupt stoppage of foreign workshops and training per annum for justices; and no provision of qualified legal assistants.
The Judges specifically questioned Justice Tanko’s rationale for discontinuing the nomination of Justices for international seminars and training for justices on a yearly basis, accompanied by experienced legal assistants. This they said was a long consistent practice until his Lordship assumed head of the Judiciary