Calls intensify for Kano Election Tribunal to reveal bribe giver
The President of the Nigerian Court of Appeal, Justice Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, has been called upon to compel the chairman of the Panel 1 of the National Assembly & States Houses of Assembly Elections Petition in Kano State, Justice Flora Ngozi Azinge, to reveal the identity of the lawyer or lawyers that she claimed tried to bribe her.
Justice Azinge had on two occasions alleged in an open court that some lawyers had attempted to induce her with unspecified gifts. She also said money was flying in the Tribunal, without specifying the panel involved.
Nigerian Sketch was told there were four panels in the Kano Tribunal.
The call was made by a number of senior lawyers in Kano who spoke separately with Nigerian Sketch on condition of anonymity.
They all agreed that the only way to insulate all Kano-based lawyers from suspicion of bribery would be to name the main culprit.
Reactions that trailed Justice Azinge’s allegation included a demand by the Kano branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) for her to unravel the culprits and let the law take its normal course.
In their reactions, politicians in Kano State used her statement as a basis to point accusing fingers at each other.
But more obviously worrisome was the way lawyers in the state have lapped on Justice Azinge’s allegations to “bring the names of some senior lawyers, especially Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), to disrepute. It is particularly painful”, said a senior lawyer.
He insisted that he was not satisfied that Justice Azinge later said the lawyer in question was not Kano-based, arguing that “first impressions matter a lot. The President of the Court of Appeal needs to compel my lord to come clean on this matter.”
The President of the Court of Appeal is responsible for the appointment of the Election Petitions Tribunal judges across the country.
A credible source has revealed that the Court of Appeal Headquarters had queried Justice Azinge for the confusion occasioned by her unsubstantiated allegation and its consequences.
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