A2Justice in a press statement issued on April 26th 2013 commended the decision of the Nigeria Judiciary to suspend Justice Abubakar Talba. Justice Mariam Aloma Mukhtar, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, had approved the suspension of Justice Talba following his controversial judgment on John Yusufu, who was prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, over an alleged N32.8 billion Police Pension Fund fraud.
In the Press State, A2Justice urged the NJC to take more of such drastic measures to lift up the Nigerian Judiciary from the doldrums. According to the statement “Any judiciary in a constitutional democracy runs on the strength of its moral capital. For a long time now, that capital, in the case of Nigeria, has suffered persistent excoriation, plundering and squandering by the illicit actions of both Judges and the virtual sterilization and inaction of judicial oversight bodies.
“We salute the current Chief Justice of Nigeria, the Chairperson of the National Judicial Council for stepping up to the plate and taking on the elements that have, for such a long time, undermined the legacy and strength of the Nigerian judiciary."
Mr. Yusufu, had pleaded guilty to stealing N2 billion of pension savings, and was sentenced to two years in jail, with a shocking N250, 000 option of fine. Mr. Yusufu promptly paid the fine and left the court premises in his car. This led to a public outrage that compelled the EFCC to re-arrest him.
According to A2Justice, the decision to suspend Justice Talba for one year without pay is without precedent in all of Nigeria’s history. This is an indication that the Judiciary in Nigeria is getting more serious about the quality, rationality, prudence and justness of substantive decisions reached by courts in Nigeria and shedding the image of an institution that always could afford to bury its head in the sand when important struggles are at stake.
A2Justice urged Talba to make best use of the opportunity he still has to reappraise his own place in the judiciary. “Mr. Talba, however, has a fresh chance to reappraise his own place in the judiciary by resolving the difficult choices placed before him in manner that can be redemptive, both for himself and the judicial institution and salvage whatever can be salvaged from this situation,”
“What has happened has diminished his moral standing and authority and would adversely affect perceptions court users would have of his forthrightness and autonomy.” A2Justice stated.