Published On: Mon, Oct 2nd, 2017

Misconduct: 15 judges under probe–NJC

Onnoghen

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The National Judicial Council (NJC) headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, has set up 15 panels to probe fifteen serving judicial officers including two state Chief Judges over alleged engagement in professional misconduct.

NJC is a creation of section 153 of the 1999 Constitution with statutory powers to hire, investigate and fire indicted judicial officers.

The Council has set up fifteen separate three-member committees to probe the petitions against each of the affected judicial officers.

The committees are to make recommendations to the NJC for approval and execution.

NJC had fired dozens of misfits from the bench since it was established in 1999.

The instant committees were set up at the 83rd meeting of the NJC.

The panels will investigate various allegations in the petitions written against the 15 Judicial Officers, including two chief judges.

The council took the decision after considering the reports of the two Preliminary Complaints Assessment Committees, on 46 petitions written against judicial officers in the federal and state judiciaries.

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In a statement by the Director of Information, Mr Soji Oye,  the NJC was quiet over the names of the affected judicial officers.

As at press time, the names of the judicial officers are still being shrouded in line with the new policy of NJC not to disclose names of judicial officers facing probe in the event the petitions are, at the end of the day, found to be weightless and useless.

But the statement dismissed 31 petitions, 29 of which it found to be without merit.

The remaining two written against Justice J. T. Tsoho of the Federal High Court and Justice O. O. Akeredolu, Acting Chief Judge of Ondo State, were withdrawn at the instance of the petitioners.

Al-Sagr National Insurance Company which wrote against Mr. Tsoho withdrew his petition since the judge had delivered the ruling in his case.

Raheem Badmus, who wrote against Mr. Akeredolu, also voluntarily withdrew his petition for personal reasons, the statement said.

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The statement said the council considered and found worthy of further investigation, the petition written by Azi A. Phillip on behalf of All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Plateau State Chapter, accusing Justice P. D. Damulak, the immediate past Chief Judge of Plateau State of bias, for failure to make his judgment in Suit No. PLD/J/236/16 delivered on November 4, 2016 available to him till the time he wrote the petition.

The council said it however decided not to constitute an Investigative Committee to look into the matter, because the accused judge had already retired from service and was therefore no longer in the employment of the National Judicial Council.

In other cases, the council considered and dismissed petitions written against two other judicial officers for lack of merit.

The judges are L. T. C. Eruba – High Court of Justice, Abia State; and Grand Kadi Abdullahi Waiya – Sharia’h Court of Appeal, Kano State.

It also decided to issue two letters of advice to Justice M. A. Dada of the Lagos State High Court of Justice and Justice Chukwudi Charles Okaa of the Anambra State High Court for violation of extant laws in the course of their judicial duties based on petition written against their Lordships by Dayo Adamolekun, Esq. & Ridwanulah Olanite, Esq. and Reverend F. U. Ekavhiare & Associates respectively.

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The council agreed to report Adesina Ogunlana, Esq., to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (L.P.D.C.) for misconduct, for the use of uncouth language in a petition written to the National Judicial Council against Justice O. O. Atilade, the immediate past Chief Judge of Lagos State.

The council welcomed as good development, a letter from Zamfara State Government approving the recommendation of the National Judicial Council for the compulsory removal of Justice Musa Anka from office for receiving a bribe of N200, 000 from Zubairu Abdumalik in order to deliver judgement in his favour.

The recommendation was made to the Zamfara State Government by council in 2011.

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