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Conflicting Orders: NJC Directs Three Judges To Appear Before Investigating Panel

The National Judicial Council (NJC) has directed three judges accused of recently granting conflicting ex-parte orders in political cases to appear next week before “a special investigating committee” set up to ascertain their level of culpability and the nature of penalty, should they be found to have abused their office.

NJC’s Director of Information, Soji Oye said, in a statement on Friday, that the council gave the directive at its 95th meeting held on September 15 and 16, 2021.

The NJC, Oye added, recommended the appointment of 18 candidates as High Court judges, six candidates as Kadis of Sharia Courts of Appeal and one candidate as Customary Court of Appeal judge.

He said the NJC also considered petitions against some judges, dismissed majority of them, but declined to hear the petition against the immediate past Chief Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Justice Ishaq Uthman Bello.

The statement reads in part: “in line with the principles of fair hearing, council has directed the three judges of coordinate jurisdiction, who granted ex-parte orders over the same case with the same subject matter, to appear before a special investigation committee constituted by the council in order to show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken against them for such act.

“The plenary of the council also considered the report of the Interview Committee and agreed to recommend 12 candidates as heads of court, 18 candidates as High Court judges, 6 candidates as kadis of Sharia Courts of Appeal and one candidate as Customary Court of Appeal judge.

“Council resolved to set up a medical board in order ascertain the health status of Hon. Justice Amina Yaroson of Kaduna State Customary Court of Appeal.

“Council also considered the reports of its Investigation Committee and decided to issue a warning letter to Hon. Justice Sobere Biambo of High Court of Rivers State for descending into the arena of conflict in a matrimonial Suit No: OHC/IMC/2018.

“Council at its plenary considered the reports of the two Preliminary Complaints Assessment Committees (PCAC) on the petitions written against 18 judicial officers and on the recommendation of the committee, issued a letter of advice to Hon. Justice Elias O. Abua of Cross River State High Court to, in future be wary of granting an order staying the execution of judgement which appeared executory in nature as the one he granted in Suit No. HC/MSC/67/2019.

“Council however, dismissed the petitions written against Hon. Justices I. E. Ekwu and Ayo-Emmanuel of the Federal High Court, Justices O. O. Ogunjobi, S. B. A. Candide-Johnson and S. A. Onigbanjo of High Court of Lagos State, Hon. Justices Chiwendu Nwogu, S. C. Amadi and A. U. Kingsley Chuku, for either lacking in merit, subjudice or statute barred.

“Other petition dismissed for the same reasons were those written against Hon. Justice I. K. Banu, Chief Judge, of Adamawa, Hon. Justice A. L. Lagre, President, Customary Court of Appeal, Adamawa, Justice Felibus B. Andetur, Chief Judge, Taraba State, Hon. Justice Sunday Olorundahunsi of Ondo State, High Court, Hon. Justice Nse Emeka Daniel of Akwa-Ibom State High Court and Justice H. T. D. Gwadah of Kaduna State High Court.

“Council however decided not to consider the petition written against Hon. Justice I. U. Bello as he had already retired from service.

“The notifications of retirement of 22 judges of the Federal and State High Courts and notifications of death of three judges of states were also considered by the NJC plenary.”

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