In Defence of Honourable Justice Ganiyu Safari – Re: N47 Million Saga

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Yesterday Sahara Reporters, the Nigeria Lawyer and some other online news platform broke the news about Justice Ganiyu Safari of the Lagos State High Court being accused of stealing the sum of N47million judgment sum placed in his care when he was Chief Registrar. The story further alleged that both the CJN and NJC have written to Lagos CJ in this regard.

A source who wishes to be anonymous has written a rejoinder to the story published yesterday stating that it is the handiwork of the Judge’s detractors.

Read his rejoinder below:

You’re likely to have read or going to read the above, and l think l owe it a duty to my friend and brother Justice Safari, (who unfortunately, his office will not permit to reply or say his own faction of the story to the public) to put the record straight.

The publications are the handiwork of a Lawyer who Justice Safari refused to cut a deal with when he was the Chief Registrar of Lagos High Court. The said lawyer wanted to claim N47m instead of N4m and Justice Safari turned him down.

It is a long story but I urge you to be patient and read through. The fact goes thus:

Judgment was entered against the now defunct Africa International Bank (AIB) in favour of some creditors one of whom was this lawyer’s client.  The judgment was for the sum of N277.000 and interest at the rate of 21 percent per annum from the date the case was filed till the date of judgment and thereafter at 6 percent interest till the judgment sum was paid. The AIB could not pay it’s several debtors and it’s AIB plaza in Victoria Island was sold by the deputy sheriff for N630m plus and the money was kept in the Chief Registrar ‘s account at Skye Bank. The lawyer presented a demand for N17m representing the judgment sum of N277.000 and accrued interest.

Justice Safari passed the request to the account department and they advised that the total sum payable is N4m plus. He then informed the lawyer in writing but he refused to collect it and insisted on N17m. The matter was rested. This happened in 2011. Other judgment creditors of AIB were paid and the sum of  N321m was left in the account. In late 2012, Ecobank bought AIB and in pursuit of AIB assets, they traced the outstanding N321m to the high court and since there was no reason for Lagos High Court to continue to hold the money, the sum of N321m was paid to Ecobank in 2012.

In December 2016 the lawyer came back to demand for the judgment debt and claimed that it has now risen to N47m. The sitting Chief Registrar told him to  approach Ecobank which he did. Ecobank wrote him and copied the Chief Registrar that they are only liable to pay N4m. Rather than go back to the court to determine what is due to his client, he resorted to trying to lobby everybody including Safari J to cooperate with him to get N47m from Ecobank with a promise to give them a share of the money. It was when his efforts failed that he resorted to the blackmail in the online media. He had tried to use judiciary correspondents to carry the story but they refused after obtaining clarification from the high court. They advised him to  do a paid advert if he was sure of his facts. In all these , the lawyer’s name has not been mentioned in the publications . Truth shall soon catch up with falsehood and the blackmailer will pay dearly for his mischief. 

Am happy to inform that Justice Safari met with the CJ yesterday who informed him that there is no letter to her from the NJC. He also briefed her Ladyship and supported his position with documents showing the transfer of the funds to Ecobank. She assured that a statement will be issued by the Chief Registrar soonest.  Thank you for your patience in reading through this rather long facts.

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