By Ameh Ejekwonyilo
The National Judicial Council (NJC) has used its sledgehammer on some judicial officers for various offences.
It particularly asked the Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, to retire two judges from the state judiciary. They are Justice Theresa Uzokwe, Chief Judge of Abia State and Justice Obisike Oji of the state High Court.
Also on the radar of the NJC are a Supreme Court Justice and two state Chief Judges, which the NJC set up a committee to probe.
In a statement issued on Thursday a�Zby the NJCa��s Director of Information, Mr. Soji Oye, the commission recommended the retirement of Uzokwe based on the recommendation of two committees that investigated allegations against her.
The NJC also issued a�?stern warnings to Justices Sunday Aladetoyinbo and Olusola Ajibike Williams of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Lagos High Courtsa�?.
Part of the statement reads: “The National Judicial Council under the chairmanship of the Mr. Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, at its 85th meeting which was held on the 14th March, 2018, recommended the compulsory retirement of Hon. Mr. Justice Theresa Uzokwe, Chief Judge, and Hon. Mr. Justice Obisike Oji of Abia State High Court of Justice to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State.
“The council also issued stern warnings to Justices S. E. Aladetoyinbo and Olusola Ajibike Williams of the FCT and Lagos State High Courts.
“Hon. Mr Justice Theresa Uzokwe was recommended for compulsory retirement following the findings of two investigative committees set up by the council. The committees investigated petitions against her by Umeh Kalu (SAN), the Attorney-General/Commissioner for Justice of Abia State, alleging illegal constitution and working with a parallel Judicial Service Commission instead of the one constituted by the state governor and confirmed by the House of Assembly.
“Hon. Mr Justice Uzokwe was also found to have misconducted himself in Suit No. HU/131/2005, wherein he delivered judgment in the sum of N825,000 in favour of a litigant, but subsequently signed a garnishee order of N109, 612,500.00
“Hon. Mr. Justice Obisike Oji was earlier queried by the council for allowing himself to be sworn-in as Acting Chief Judge, and thereby colluding in, and aiding an unconstitutional process. His reply was unsatisfactory and the council recommended his compulsory retirement.”
a�Z Oye said that during the meeting, the NJC considered various petitions written against 31 judicial officers and resolved to empanel three investigative committees against one Justice of Supreme Court and two State Chief Judges.
He said that petitions against various justices were dismissed either for lack of merit, lack of evidence of misconduct, being sub judice or that the subject of such petitions were matters for appeal.
The dismissed petitions were agains Justices Abdu Aboki, Theresa Abadua and Ahmed Belgore, all of the Court of Appeal; Justices J. T. Tsoho, Ayo Emmanuel, Sabiu Yahusa, Zainab B. Abubakar, B. O. Quadri of the Federal High Court; Justices A. N. Ubaka and B. B. Kanyip of the National Industrial Court (NIC); Justices Bello Kawu, S. C. Orji, A. N. Talba of the FCT High Court; Justice K. C. Nwankpa of High Court Abia State; Justice D. A. Onyefulu of High Court, Anambra State; Justice W. I. A. Effiong High Court, Akwa Ibom State; A. M. Ikpambese, High Court Benue State; Justice G. E. Gbemre, High Court Delta State, and Justice A. O. Onovo, High Court Enugu State.
Others are Justice Idi Apollos, High Court Gombe State, Justice G. O. Ogunsanya, High Court Ogun State; Justice A. B. Abdulkarim, High Court Osun State; Justice K. A. Ojiako, High Court Imo State, and Justices A. M. Lawal, L. A. Okunnu and L. B. Lawal Akapo, High Court Lagos State respectively.
He said that the Council decided to advise Justice J. E. Ikede of Delta State High Court and Justice Yusuf Halilu of FCT High Court to be more careful in the course of their duties.
Oye added that NJC also recommended 60 judicial officers to 24 state governors for appointment as High Court judges, Sharia Court Kadis and Customary Court of Appeal judges.
By Ameh Ejekwonyilo