Senior Advocates of Nigeria and Judges from different states of the country, on Tuesday stormed Osogbo, Osun state capital, as Justice Moshud Aderibigbe Adeigbe, bowed out of the bench.
The valedictory court session and send-off ceremony for the retired judge was held at court room of the state Chief Judge, along Ilobu, Osogbo.
One of the SANs that attended the ceremony, Chief Lateef Fagbemi, took time to comment on the fight against corruption of President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government and urged the Judges to join the fight.
He specifically reacted to the delay in the sack of the former Secretary to the government of the federation, Mr. Babachir Lawal and the ex-chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, AbdurRasheed Maina.
He said, “truth be told, every well meaning Nigeria must commend the effort of the present government at combating corruption in the country. That said however, the case of Maina and that of Babachir Lawal, I sincerely think, ought to have been handled differently.
“I expected the government to have come out with a definite position on its suspended SGF, having received the report of the committee purposely set up to look into the allegations against him.
“The time it took the government to take a position in Babachir Lawal’s case makes the Nigerian people to have doubt about the sincerity of the government in the fight against corruption.
“Fortunately, late in the afternoon Monday, the government made an announcement replacing Babachir Lawal. That however is not the end of the matter, if he had run foul of any law, then necessary action must be taken against him.
“The Maina case, epitomizes the problem inherent in our public administration and our system generally. Taking the matter away from the mischievous realm of politics, one cannot stop wondering how somebody who had long been declared wanted by the EFCC, the most popular crime-fighting organisation in Nigeria, would be right there within the corridors of powers and nobody was able to blow the whistle on him.
“My little experience suggests it is a clear case of conspiracy that must be comprehensively investigated and collaborators and players alike in the whole drama, brought to justice.
He commended the present CJN for attempt to set up a body to monitor corruption trials in various courts, saying “there is no doubt that a personality like Justice Adeigbe fits perfectly well to serve in this kind of committee or similar ones.
Osun state Governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, reiterated his support for the state judiciary with a view to make the interpretation of law more convenient for the judges.
Aregbesola who promised that he would strive to further strengthen the judiciary, noted that his administration has never interfered nor influence any judgement since he became governor in the state.
Aregbesola who was represented by the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Dr. Ajibola Basiru, described the retired judge as “hardworking, incorruptible and God fearing person.
He appreciated the contribution of the retired judge to the judiciary in Osun state, praying that his retirement would be fruitful for him.
Speaking, the Chief Judge of the state, Hon. Justice Oyebola Adepele Ojo, expressed happiness that Justice Adeigbe was retiring at 65 years after serving the state for 11 years.
She said, “I wish I have the capacity to grant an order extending the tenure of the judge. We wouldn’t have allowed Justice Adeigbe to go now.
“Posterity would remember him for doing his best in contributing to the development of judiciary in the state,” the CJ submitted.
In his response, Justice Adeigbe expressed gratitude to Allah, his wives and the entire judiciary for their support.
He expressed sadness over the pain the retired Judges are passing through, appealing to stakeholders in the sector to find solution to it.
“Retired Judges are finding it difficult when the state government are not paying their retirement especially in Osun state where the state government is paying half salary to the retiree.
“My colleagues that retired about two years ago have not been paid their gratuities till today, I’m happy the Attorney General is here today, he should note this, is not good enough.
“Federal government should increase allocation while the state government should increase their Internally generated revenue. The gratuity of a retired judge should not be delayed.
The event was attended by Chief Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), Akin Onigbinde (SAN), Yomi Aliu (SAN), a judge of the supreme court, Olukayode Ariwoola, former Attorney General of Oyo state, Adebayo Ojo, Professor Femi Odunsi, Dean, Faculty of Law, Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU, Ile-Ife.
The Ondo state Governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), was represented by the Attorney General of Ondo state, Hon. Adegbola Olawoye, many Judges from Oyo state, traditional rulers, lawyers and friends of the retiring judge, among others.