Salihu Oloruntoyin Mohammed retired as Kwara State Sharia Court Grand Khadi in 2016. He was subsequently appointed Ambassador for Peace by United Nations. The currently Principal partner of Soma Islamic Law Consultancy Services located in the State capital however bares his mind to our JUDICIARY CORRESPONDENT, KAYODE ADEOTI on the alleged involvement of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki as well as the Kwara State Governor, Dr. Ahmed Abdulfatah in the Offa banks’ robbery among other sundry issues.
Going by your experience in the judiciary, what can you say of the sector now compared to when you were on the bench?
I’ve been in the judiciary for so long, that accords me privilege to know much about the sector. The system has charged completely from what it used to be. It use to be a vibrant organisation, a serious arm of government and the last hope of the common man. Anywhere you are in the world, once you introduce yourself as an honourable justice… People will give you respect. Some of my colleagues were arrested and prosecuted, it has never happened before in the judiciary. The fact that security operative have to invade houses of judges means much. The prefix we have, ‘honourable’ should be given respect. And our lives should be so transparent that people will believe us and our judgements. If an Area Court Judge is honest in his judgement over a case and if probably that verdict is appealed from High court to Court of Appeal and to Supreme Court, the judgement should remain the same in all the levels of courts. But, things have changed for the worse these days until recently, when our president signed into law, bill of autonomy for the judiciary at state levels. On the issue of whether judiciary is independent or not, we have to approach government to beg for fund over whatever we want to do. For current expenditure, we have to go and beg too, even to buy certain stationery and also for support. If that bill is implemented, certainly, judiciary will be better for it. Many colleagues who are retired have not taken their pension or gratuity. But our government in Kwara State is doing wonderfully well for the sector, only for the fact that government lacks fund.
Some of the suspects arrested in connection with Offa banks robbery have indicted the Senate President and Governor Abudlfatah Ahmed, looking at this from legal perspective, how do you see this?
Sincerely, those who play politics, does it with anything. Everything about the matter is political. The opposition will not want those in government to succeed, that’s why they go about trying to tarnish the image or whatever good that persons in the government are doing. The person of the Senate President cannot give anyone gun; to do what? To kill his people? Politicians like running themselves down, everything happening around Saraki and our Governor is political, people like us will just continue to pray for them. I want to advice our esteemed citizens not to take sides, Allah doesn’t want that. There is no way there will be a government without opposition except angels come down to rule us. Lai Muhammed, as Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) spokesman then condemned everything about other parties, the same is happening today.
Well meaning Nigerians have scored our President high on his fight against corruption but low on security, economy…? Can you put things in the right perspectives?
It’s still a way of discrediting his government, the prevalence of herdsmen attack is also political. Our politicians have gotten to the level of destroying lives just to achieve their selfish interests. We should have gotten rid of Boko Haram and the likes, if they do not have some moneybags sponsoring them with arms, food and money. On the part of our economy, the sector can only boom if we pay taxes and prudence in spending. Some Nigerians celebrate birthday spraying dollars. There was a time I was in London to give a talk at the Manchester University, then, I approached one popular pharmacy to buy drugs. I bought the drug for 18pounds and and gave pharmacy attendant 50 pounds, he refused to give me change because he was wandering where I’ve gotten such money from, afterwards, he went to report me to his supervisor who later asked him to invite me over. The supervisor saw my passport and he exclaimed that I should be given my change saying I’m a Nigerian, that is how we waste money. I was embarrassed and I asked him, reason for interrogating me, he said, ‘sir, here in Britain, you cannot hold more than 20 pounds. We should learn how to manage money. We rent hall for N5million, plans N10million wedding, and some people do not have food to eat. We should assist the government. We’re not poor in Nigeria, the problems we have is poor management. Also, the most popular religions in the world are two, Islam and Christianity, but the elites of these religions are using it to cause trouble. Ordinary Christians are good friends of ordinary Muslims. I delivered a lecture at a time on ‘Muslims and Christians need not fight’ we should live together in peace, God created both, why should we fight or why should I hate you?