A Senior Advocate of Nigeria ( SAN ), Mr. Paul Usoro, has explained why he gave N450,000 to a judge of the National Industrial Court, Justice James Agbadu-Fishim.
He said it was a gift, not a bribe.
Usoro, who is aspiring for the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) presidency, was reacting to a statement credited to a human rights lawyer, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu.
Odinkalu said Usoro admitted “bribing” a judge and should not be allowed to run for the office.
“It is an insult to us all. We all have a duty to stop it (Usoro’s bid). In a sane country, Paul Usoro should be facing disciplinary proceedings at best and should have been disbarred,” Odinkalu said.
But, Usoro, in a statement issued by a Partner in his firm, Munirudeen Liadi, said he and Justice Agbadu-Fishim had been friends and were known to each other long before the judge joined the Bench.
The SAN said he had only one case before the judge, and that before his firm was engaged to handle the case, he gave a gift of N250,000 to the judge on August 5, 2014, about five months before his firm got the brief.
Usoro said all the three cash gifts he gave to the judge were at the judge’s request and that none was related to the case.