Human rights activist and lawyer, Professor Chidi Odinkalu, has faulted the claim by Senator Adamu Bulkachuwa of influencing the decisions of his wife, Justice Zainab, while she was serving as a President of the Court of Appeal.
Bulkachuwa, a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), had during the valedictory session of the 9th Senate on 10 June, confessed to infringing on the “freedom and independence” of his wife as a judicial officer.
He has since come under criticism from many Nigerians and groups with the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) calling for the probe and possible prosecution of the lawmaker who represented Bauchi North senatorial district in the 9th Senate.
In his reaction to the comment, Odinkalu, a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today, described the senator’s remarks beyond a scandal.
“A lot of reactions have been raised obviously about what he said on the floor of the Senate but the real issue is what actually transpired,” he said.
“If what he said actually did happen, it is beyond a scandal. The National Judicial Council met yesterday and somehow managed to wimp out on that particular episode, managing to say nothing about it.”
Odinkalu also reacted to NBA’s response to Bulkachuwa’s statement last Saturday.
On Wednesday, NBA President Yakubu Maikyau, issued a statement, noting that the viral video clip of the comments made by the senator clearly admits that he did attempt to and/or actually perverted the course of justice/interfered with the due administration of justice, which makes him liable to be investigated and prosecuted even on his admission.
He also stated, “that this came with a huge negative impact on the integrity and the independence of the Judiciary can only be an understatement”.
However, Odinkalu described the NBA President’s response as scandalous, arguing that he does not have the capacity to speak on behalf of the NJC.
“The President of the Nigerian Bar Association then issued this scandalous statement in my view, in which he purported to speak on behalf of the National Judicial Council which he does not have to do not being the presiding officer nor the spokesperson,” he added.
“He is giving us a reported speech claiming that the National Judicial Council condemned what Senator Bulkachuwa did. But it is not clear what Senator Bulkachuwa did, what they are condemning.”