The National Judicial Council, NJC has suspended two judges and recommended their compulsory retirement after finding them guilty of misconduct.
They are Hon. Justice Francis Chukwuma Abosi, Acting President, Customary Court of Appeal, Imo State and Hon. Justice Aliyu Musa Liman of Bauchi State High Court of Justice.
In a statement by NJC spokesperson, Soji Oye, on Friday, Justice Abosi, was recommended for compulsory retirement following the falsification of his date of birth from 1950 to 1958.
According to NJC, its findings showed that the Judge was supposed to have retired in November, 2015 when he clocked the mandatory retirement age of Sixty-five (65) years.
The Council then decided to recommend for his compulsory retirement to Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State and to also deduct the salaries he had earned from November, 2015 to date from his retirement benefit.
On his part, Justice Liman was recommended to the Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed for compulsory retirement pursuant to the findings by the Council for his failure to deliver judgement in suit No BA/100/2010, between Abubakar Isa and Sheik Tahir Usman Bauchi within the three months period stipulated by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The NJC viewed his failure to deliver judgement for nearly four years as a misconduct, contrary to Section 292 (1) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended and Rules 1.3 and 3.7 of the 2016 Revised Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Approvals for their retirement are to come from the president.
The NJC under the Chairmanship of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Dr. Justice I. T. Muhammad CFR, at its 91st Meeting held online on 22 and 23 April, also cleared some judges of allegations of wrongdoing, and recommended the appointment of 70 new judicial officers.
Petitions against the following Judicial Officers; Hon. Justice O. A. Musa of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Hon. Justices Muhammed A. Sambo and Sa’ad Ibrahim Zadawa of the High Court of Justice, Bauchi State were dismissed for either lacking in merit or being subjudice.
Council also decided to report Messrs Apeiyi Becon Clement, Ifeanyi Egwasi, Nwafor Orizu, Godwin Nkemjika Chukwukwere, Akopde Haggai Ukuku, Chief Emefo Etudo, Osamudiamen Obarogie and B. S. Onuegbu to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) for various acts unbecoming of a Legal Practitioner ranging from unruly behaviour, walking out of Court in the cause of proceedings to submission of false documents to Court.
The NJC has also constituted a 10-man Committee to come up with urgent practical strategic measures to be put in place in order to ensure Courts continue to function despite the lockdown and Covid-19 challenges.
The Committee members are:
Hon. Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, CFR – Chairman
Hon. Justice M. B. Dongban-Mensem – Member
Hon. Justice J. T. Tsoho – Member
Hon. Justice B. B. Kanyip – Member
Hon. Justice Ishaq Bello – Member
Hon. Justice Kashim Zannah, CON – Member
Hon. Justice O. A. Ojo – Member
Paul Usoro, SAN – Member
Mr. A. B. Mahmoud, OON, SAN – Member
Mr. D. D. Dodo, SAN – Member
The Committee, inter-alia, has the following Terms of Reference: To come up with Guidelines or template for implementation; To explore possible areas of collaboration between the Judiciary and the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, stakeholders in the Justice Administration and Development Partners in Justice Administration Sector; and any other measures that the Committee may deem fit in realising these objectives.
The Committee has fourteen (14) days to submit its Report.
Council at the meeting also considered the Report of its Interview Committee and recommended Seventy (70) Judicial Officers for appointment as President, Court of Appeal, Grand Kadis, President, Customary Court of Appeal and Judges of High Court of States and the Federal Capital Territory and Kadis of States Sharia Courts of Appeal.
The Council also formally launched its twitter handle @njcNIG and will launch its other platforms at a later date.