Chief Justice of Nigeria is watching
By Raphael Ekpang
A civil society organisation, Social Justice League (SJL), has expressed outrage over the alleged sale of the official quarters of Nigeria’s President of the Court of Appeal and are calling for immediate probe of the transanctions which it’s described as “suspicious”.
In a press statement signed by the group’s spokesman, Mr. Salisu Ibrahim, and made available to Instant Africa News, the group flayed the outgoing President of the Court of Appeal, Honourable Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, and demanded that she answered some questions.
“We are concerned that an important public asset such as the official residence of the President of the Court of Appeal should be sold out without recourse to posterity. We want to know who acquired it. Was it the outgoing President of the Court of Appeal herself? How much was it sold? Did it follow due process? Who authorized the sale of the public asset?”, the group queried.
According to findings, Justice Bulkachuwa is scheduled to commission structures built by the Court of Appeal at different divisions of the appellate court as part of activities marking her disengagement from the court.
SJL, known for social justice advocacy noted that the official residence of the PCA has been abandoned to decay under the Bulkachuwa administration before its alleged acquisition.
Consequently, after the acquisition that is now raising condemnation and outrage among judiciary staff, the building situated at No.13, Haile Selassie Street, Asokoro District, Abuja, which was hitherto abandoned, was pulled down and a new structure is said to be erected in its stead after the property was sold.
The CSO wanted to know “Why was the official quarters abandoned before now only for it to be sold? We have gathered on good authority that the President of Court of Appeal (PCA), Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa is to commission new buildings in different divisions of the appellate court as part of her valedictory function before she finally retire on January 29, 2020.
“Curiously, many existing structures of the court are deteriorating while huge sums of money were sank into building new structures. Take the official residence of the PCA for instance; that massive structure under Justice Bulkachuwa was left to steadily decay in the last seven years only to be acquired now. Why?
“Lest we forget, this is where the former presidents of the court, including the one Justice Bulkachuwa took over from, Justice Ayo Salami lived. Justice Salami’s predecessor, Justice Umar Abdullahi lived there for 11 years. Why did Justice Bulkachuwa shun this building? Senior officers advised that the peace get converted to guest house for Appeal Court justices but the wise counsel was turned down flat.
“We strongly condemn this pattern of questionable sale of official residences of government quarters at the highest level and urge President Muhammadu Buhari to look into the matter.
“We take strong exception to a situation whereby government officials, suspiciously and fraudulently, acquire public properties and create accommodation challenges for successive administration. Assuming Bulkachuwa is the one that bought the Appeal Court president’s quarters today, tomorrow, another president will ask for one thereby creating un-necessary cost on government.
“We believe that an administration that prides itself as anti-corrupt will definitely guard against waste, misuse and theft of public property. Let President Muhammadu Buhari order immediate comprehensive inventory of the properties of the Court of Appeal in the last seven years in order to ascertain their structural status”, SJL stated..