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Graft Scandal: HURIWA Demands Arrest, Prosecution of Ex-CJN, Tanko



The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has called for arrest and prosecution of former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad for alleged corrupt practices.

The group said allegations of maladministration and mismanagement of funds against Muhammad were too grave to be brushed aside and that his regime needs to be investigated.

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari replaced Justice Muhammad on Monday, hours after news broke of his resignation. The swift change of power took place a week after media reports of a petition jointly written by all Tanko’s 14 colleagues on the Supreme Court alleging bad administration and financial corruption against him.

However, as he bowed out on Monday, President Buhari conferred the Grand Commander of the Order of Niger (GCON), the second highest honour in the land, on Tanko Muhammad after swearing-in Justice Olukayode Ariwoola as acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).

Muhammed got the equivalent of a golden handshake from Buhari to the consternation of many members of the Bar and the Bench.

Several Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), civil rights groups, and some state branches of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) unanimously said the allegations must be probed and Buhari must not sweep them under the carpet.

HURIWA first asked the National Judicial Council (NJC) and the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT). Then it upped the ante and demanded the arrest of Muhammad by the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

“The resignation of Justice Tanko Muhammad as the Chief Justice of Nigeria is not enough; the EFCC and the ICPC must swing into action, investigate then if a cause if action is ascertained, then arrest and prosecute him over the corruption allegations levelled against him by the 14 justices of the Supreme Court if a prima facie evidence exists,” HURIWA demanded in a statement.

“Tanko must be prosecuted just as his predecessor, Walter Onnoghen, who was probed and later removed on a controversial note following some allegations against him which were probed by both the NJC and the CCT,” said the statement issued by HURIWA National Coordination Emmanuel Onwubiko.

“The investigation and probable prosecution of Tanko, if indicted, will set a precedent that Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade is not a joke unless it is a joke.

“Tanko’s prosecution if found culpable of those sets of allegations will also serve as deterrent for any proven corrupt justices that the judiciary won’t be a haven for scoundrels.”

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