Friday, July 1, 2022

Kano CJ dragged to NJC for refusal to take action against ‘corrupt magistrate’ notorious for jailing critics of Ganduje

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A Civil Society Organisation, Centre for Awareness on Justice and Accountability, CAJA, has petitioned the National Judicial Council, over Kano State chief judge, Nura Sagir’s alleged inaction on petitions of misconducts against magistrates, particularly, Aminu Gabari of Magistrate Court 58 and for improper administration of the state’s Judicial Service Commission.

In a three page petition, signed by Kabiru Saidu Dakata its Executive Director and addressed to NJC Chairman and Chief Justice of Nigeria, CAJA accused the leadership of Kano judiciary of inaction to complaints on various acts of corruption, discriminatory/preferential treatments of litigants and biases in the direction of cases to the Magistrate Courts.

In the petition, dated March 15, CAJA said the said magistrate, who its findings reveal, is notorious for doing the biddings of government.

The petition alleged that he is favoured by state chief judge who in spite of many petitions against the magistrate and indeed many other erring magistrates in the state, has refused to take any administrative action.

Read the petition below:

PETITION AGAINST CHIEF JUDGE OF KANO STATE FOR FAILURE TO TAKE DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS OVER VARIOUS PETITIONS OF MISCONDUCT AND CORRUPTION AGAINST MAGISTRATES; AND IN PARTICULAR AMINU MUHAMMAD GABARI; AND FOR IMPROPER ADMINISTRATION OF THE STATE’S JUDICIAL SERVICE COMMISSION

We believe this letter finds you in good health, and in an excellent state of Iman.

We write from the Centre for Awareness on Justice and Accountability (CAJA), a non-governmental and non-partisan organization that focuses on promoting Justice and Accountability as strategy for promoting good governance, to draw the attention of Your Lordship to various acts of corruption, discriminatory/preferential treatments of litigants and biases in the direction of cases to the Magistrate Courts in Kano State.

CAJA has observed after thorough investigation that in spite of having over 80 Magistrates, successive Chief Registrars of the Kano State High Court have been in the predictable habit of directing all politically exposed cases involving the Kano State Governor, His Excellency Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje or any member of the ruling party, against any perceived political opponent, to one Senior Magistrate in person of Aminu Muhammad Gabari of Magistrate court No. 58, Nomansland, Kano.

The said Magistrate, who our findings reveal is notorious among lawyers and litigants alike is evidently favoured by State’s Chief Judge who in spite of many petitions against the Magistrate and indeed many other erring magistrates in the State has failed and refused to take any administrative action; hence this petition is against the Chief Judge in his capacity as Chairman Judicial Service Commission, Kano State.

While it is predictable to all and sundry that all cases (mostly defamation of character-an ordinarily bailable offence considered a civil wrong in many jurisdiction of the world) against any perceived opponent of the Kano State government goes to the Senior Magistrate in question, the said Magistrate has never failed the State Governor and general public’s expectation by consistently imposing stringent and sometimes impossible bail conditions against anyone arraigned before him in this respect.

My lord, it is also our keen observation that similar cases involving nonentities never get the type of treatment given to cases involving Kano State governor, members of the first family or other eminent members of the government or ruling party all of whom for obvious reasons prefer Aminu Gabari’s court over 80 other available options.

The almost predictable pattern of the Magistrate is always to send the defendants to correctional centers on arraignment, after taking a simple bail application which would almost always be adjourned for ruling while ordering for the remand of the defendants.

On the day of ruling for bail, the magistrate will normally impose stringent bail conditions apparently incompatible with the nature of the offence and in some cases, the learned magistrate will refuse to sit in the court for one excuse or another thereby prolonging the defendants’ incarceration.

To cite a few instances, Engineer Ma’az Magaji Dan Sarauniya, Abdulmajid Almustapha (Danbilki Kwamanda), Salisu Yahaya Hotoro, Rufaida Ahmad, Damina Ali Gwarzo and Dalha Yusuf, all of whom are political opponents of the Kano State governor, have at various times suffered the above fate from the same magistrate.

We will be ready in due course to furnish further particulars of even more cases and persons who suffer the same “justice” which my lord before now decreed must not only be done, but evidently be seen to be done by all and sundry.

While we recognize the constitutional right of the governor to seek redress where he feels his character has been defamed, it is a cause for concern, under a rule of law regime, to devise special procedure in the determination of cases involving key government officials as our constitution requires fair and equitable treatment of all Nigerians.

It is worthy of mention also that the lack of confidence in the administration of the Chief Judge of Kano State against many corrupt and erring magistrates has reached its height in Kano state, in that some complainants have resorted to file court cases against the persons of sitting magistrates before Kano State High court for a far-fetched judicial instead of administrative remedy.

To cite an example here also, there is currently a civil case pending before Hon. Justice Ubale of the Kano State High Court against the same Aminu Gabari bordering on receipt of bribes via his bank account.

While we remain utterly disturbed by the trend of administration of justice in Kano state, My lord, we are confident, Sir, that your good office will swiftly and expansively investigate this and even many other cases in order that Kano and indeed all other suitors for justice get the best justice they deserve.

Thank you very much, Your Lordship.

Respectfully Yours,
Kabiru Saidu Dakata its Executive Director, CAJA

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