October 7th,2016

The National Judicial Council (NJC) has sanctioned over 70 judges in five years.  

This was made known by thenigerialawyer.com, as the judiciary cleanse itself of jurists with questionable character.

Read below: 

1. Justice Oluyinka Gbajabiamila (Lagos State High Court): He allegedly delivered judgment in a matter before him 22 months after written addresses were adopted and 35 months after the close of evidence in the suit. He was recommended for compulsory retirement from office. 

2. Justice Idris M. J. Evuti (Niger state High Court): Justices Evuti was found to have used three different dates of birth, such as September 15, 1950, April 10, 1953 and April 1, 1953. He was recommended for compulsory retirement. NJC also recommended to the Niger state government to deduct all salaries received by him from September, 2015 till date from his gratuity and remit same to the council that pays salaries of all judicial officers. 

3. Justice Tanko Yusuf Usman (Niger state High Court): Justice Usman was found to have falsified his age from June 27, 1950 to June 27, 1951. NJC did not recommend his compulsory retirement because it had already accepted his retirement with effect from March 1. It, however, asked Niger state to deduct from the gratuity the salaries he received from June 2015 when he should have retired from the Bench. 

4. Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia (Federal High Court, Illorin Division): Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia of the Federal High Court was barred from elevation to the appellate court for allegedly adjourning a pre-election matter severally until the termination of the life span of the Ogun state House of Assembly. She was subsequently transferred from Lagos, where she sat over the case, to Ilorin division. 

5. Justice Mohammed Yunusa (Federal High Court, Enugu division): Justice Yunusa was recommended for compulsory retirement for making orders restraining anti-graft agencies from investigating some persons, including a former aviation minister, Mrs Stella Oduah. 

6. Justice Olamide Oloyede (Osun state High Court): Justice Oloyede was retired because of the petition she wrote to the Osun State House of Assembly Governor Rauf Aregbesola and the failure to conduct herself in such a manner as to preserve the dignity of her office and impartiality and independence of the judiciary.  

7. Justice B.T Ebuta (Cross River state High Court): Justice Ebuta was recommended for immediate retirement following NJC’s findings on the allegations of abuse of judicial power, suppression and illegal/forceful takeover of a property in Calabar as contained in the petition written against him by Dr Ekanem Cobham. 

8. Justices Charles Archibong: Justice Archibong was found to have dismissed the grievous charges against former Intercontinental Bank Managing Director Dr. Erastus Akingbola without taking his plea. He also refused to release the Certified True Copy (CTC) of his ruling to the lawyers. NJC also found that there were glaring procedural irregularities which showed that Archibong did not have a full grasp of the law and procedure of the court. 

9. Justice Thomas Naron: In the case of Justice Naron, the NJC found that there were constant and regular voice calls and exchange of SMS and between the judge and one of the lead counsels during the Osun Governorship Election Petitions’ Tribunal that heard the petition of the then Action Congress (AC) governorship candidate, Rauf Aregbesola against the then Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola. Call logs of Narons’s phone showed that he was in constant communication with Otunba Kunle Kalejaiye, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and lead counsel to the then governor, while the judge presided over the election tribunal that would decide Mr. Oyinlola’s fate. He later dismissed the petitioner’s claim and affirmed the declaration of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that Prince Oyinlola validly won the 2007 governorship election. Oyinlola was, however, later sacked by the Court of Appeal which declared his opponent and incumbent Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, the authentic winner of the election. The NJC said that Naron’s action was contrary to the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers vide Section 292 (1) (b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended. 

10. Justice Abubakar Mahmud Talba (Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court): He was dismissed over the manner he handled the case of a convicted police ‘pension thief’, John Yakubu Yusuf. The council castigated Justice Talba for what it termed “unreasonable exercise of judicial discretion” in the case. Justice Talba was suspended for 12 months without pay. 

11. Justices Gladys Olotu (Federal High Court, Abuja): Justice Olotu was said to have breached laid down judicial procedure by delivering a judgment in a case 18 months after the final address by counsel contrary to the constitutional provisions that judgment should be delivered within a period of 90 days.

12. Justice Ufot Inyang (Abuja High Court): Justice Inyang was retired over a judgment in which he ordered FERMA to pay N460 million to Chukwuani in a dispute relating to a certain N27 million being unpaid sum of the contract. The speed with which the order was signed by the judge, enrolled and executed despite a subsisting interlocutory injunction by the Appeal Court, Abuja Division, raised eyebrows. On the list of dismissed judges are: Justice Dahiru Saleh, Justice Wilson Egbo-Egbo, Justice Stanley Nnaji, Justice Chuka Jideofor Okoli, Justice Chudi Nwokorie and Justice Solomon Hunponu-Wusu, among others. 

13. Justice Chudi Nwokorie (Federal High Court, Owerri): He was dismissed for breach of his oath of office and abuse of his powers while Justice Wilson Egbo-Egbo, formerly of the Abuja High Court, and Justice Stanley Nnaji of the Enugu High Court were sacked for acts deemed by the NJC to have contravened their professional oath of office. 

14. Justice Stanley Nnaji (Enugu High Court): He committed what amounted to judicial hara-kiri when in a case that was clearly outside his jurisdiction, he ordered that Chris Ngige, the then governor of Anambra state, should be removed from office. 

15. Justice Solomon Hunponu-Wusu, Lagos state deputy chief judge (Administration): He was recommended for retirement from the judiciary after the council investigated a petition by the Tourist Company of Nigeria Plc, which accused him of shady deals in the suit between it and another company.

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