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Published On: Mon, Dec 8th, 2014

Judge withdraws from suits against Jonathan, NJC

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By A’isha Biola Raji

Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja yesterday withdrew from two suits filed by a retired judge of the court, Justice Gladys Olotu, against President Goodluck Jonathan and National Judicial Council (NJC) challenging her compulsory retirement.

It will be recalled that this will be the second time the judge will withdraw from the case.

Justice Ademola had on July 10 withdrawn from the case and consequently returned the case file to the Chief Judge.

 The case file was however sent back to him (Justice Ademola) to hear the matter.

Justice Olotu was compulsorily retired on ground of “gross misconduct, “earlier this year, by President Goodluck Jonathan upon the recommendation of the NJC.

She however approached the court, challenging the decisions by the President and the NJC in relation to her retirement.

At the time she was being retired, Justice Olotu was also being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

She also sued the anti-corruption agencies, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) among others, accusing them of violating her rights, and sought to restrain them from investigating her further.

When the matter came up yesterday, counsel to the NJC, Phillips Jimoh-Lasisi SAN urged the court to withdraw from the cases in view of the fact that he (Justice Ademola) had also sued the NJC before the Federal High Court, Abuja.

Jimoh-Lasisi argued that since his client had, in their preliminary objection, challenged the jurisdiction of the court to hear the cases, the right thing to do was for the judge, who has equally sued the NJC before the same court, not to proceed to hear the defendants’ objection his position on the issue was clear.

He further argued that since the issue in contention was similar in his (Justice Ademola’s) case and those by Justice Olotu, and Justice Ademola having chosen to sue at the Federal High Court, his position on whether or not the court has jurisdiction to hear such a case was already known.

“It will not be proper for your Lordship to take the applications (defendants’ objection to Justice Olotu’s suits) because we already know your position on this issue.”

Counsel to President Jonathan and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Dr. Soni Ajala agreed with Jimoh-Lasisi’s position and urged the judge to withdraw from r hearing the case further.

He asserted that there is the likelihood of the judge being bias in the handling of the defendants’ objections, the judge himself having filed a similar suit before the Federal High Court.

The defendants contended, in their notices of objection, that the proper court to hear Justice Olotu’s case, challenging her retirement, was the National Industrial Court.

Ruling, Justice Ademola held that in view of the arguments by Jimoh-Lasisi and Ajala, concerning the likelihood of bias, he will return the case files to the Chief Judge for his decision on the issue.

 Justice Ademola, in his suit, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/689/2014, now before Justice Abdulkadir Abdulkafarati, is seeking to restrain the NJC from further investigating a petition written against him.

 

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