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Tuesday, 3 October 2017

NJC sets up panel to probe two Chief Judges, 13 others

NJC sets up panel to probe two Chief Judges, 13 others

Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen

The National Judicial Council has constituted separate panels to investigate various allegations of misconduct against two Chief Judges, 13 others.

NJC’s Director of Information, Mr. Soji Oye, who disclosed this in a statement on Monday, did not give the identities of the affected judges.

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But it stated that the NJC received a letter from the Zamfara Sate Government approving the Council’s recommendation for the compulsory removal of Justice Musa Ibrahim Anka of the Zamfara State High Court.

Oye stated that the NJC took the decisions at its 83rd meeting held last week after considering the reports of the two Preliminary Complaints Assessment Committees, on 46 petitions written against judicial officers in the federal and state judiciaries.

The NJC’s meeting was said to have been presided over by its Chairman, Justice Walter Onnoghen, who is also the Chief Justice of Nigeria.

The NJC had recommended Anka for compulsory retirement since May 2011 for allegedly receiving a bribe of N200,000 from one Zubairu Abdumalik in order to deliver judgement in his favour.

But the NJC’s recommendation was not formally approved by the successive governor of the state as required by the Constitution since then.

The PUNCH had reported on July 28, that Anka was among seven judges kicked out of office since 2011, but had escaped full sanctions due to the failure of the Presidency, the police and some state governors to implement key recommendations of the NJC against the affected judicial officers.

The NJC’s meeting held between September 27 to 29 was the first by the Council since The PUNCH’s report of July 28.

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The NJC’s statement read in part on Monday “Council welcomed as good development, a letter from Zamfara State Government approving the recommendation of the National Judicial Council for the compulsory removal of Hon. Mr. Justice Musa Ibrahim Anka from office for allegedly receiving a bribe of two hundred thousand Naira (N200,000) from one Zubairu Abdumalik in order to deliver judgement in his favour.

“The recommendation was made to the Zamfara State Government by Council in 2011.”

The statement stated that it had reported the Chairman of the Ikeja Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association to the Legal Practitioners’ Disciplinary Committee for allegedly using “uncouth language in a petition” he authored against the immediate past Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice O.O Atilade.

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“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 Hon. Justice O. O. Atilade, the immediate past Chief Judge of Lagos State,” it stated.

It stated that 15 judges, including two Chief Judges were to be probed by 15 newly constituted panels but 31 petitions against other judges were found to be unmeritorious.

It stated that the petitions against the Acting Chief Judge of Ondo State, Justice O. O Akeredolu and a judge of the Federal High Court in Abuja, Justice John Tsoho, were withdrawn at the instance of the petitioners.

The statement read in part, “The National Judicial Council, under the Chairmanship of the Hon. Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Mr. Justice Walter Nkanu Samuel Onnoghen, GCON, at its 83rd meeting constituted 15 committees to investigate various allegations in the Petitions written against 15 judicial officers, including two Chief Judges.

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