By Vivian Okejeme Abuja
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Nkanu Onnoghen-led National Judicial Council, NJC, has recommended the compulsory retirement of the Chief Judge of Abia State, Theresa Uzokwe and Obisike Oji of the state high court.
The council also set up a “committee to investigate a Supreme Court Justice and two (2) State Chief Judges”.
In a statement made available to journalists yesterday by the Director of Information of NJC, Mr. SojiOye, the commission recommended the retirement of Ms. Uzokwe, following the recommendation of two panels that investigated allegations against her.
Apart from the two Justices that were recommended for retirement, the NJC also issued “stern warnings to Justices Sunday Aladetoyinbo and OlusolaAjibike Williams of FCT and Lagos High Courts.”
Parts of the statement reads, “The National Judicial Council under the Chairmanship of the Honourable Mr. Justice Walter Samuel NkanuOnnoghen, GCON, at its 85th Meeting which was held on the 14th of 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 OkezieIkpeazu of Abia State.
“The Council also issued stern warnings to Justices S. E. Aladetoyinbo and OlusolaAjibike 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 UmehKalu, SAN, 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 judgement in the sum of N825, 000 (Eight Hundred and Twenty-five Thousand Naira) only in favour of a Litigant, but subsequently signed a garnishee order of N109, 612, 500 (One Hundred and Nine Million, Six Hundred and Twelve Thousand, Five Hundred Naira) only.
“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”.
SojiOye said, during the meeting, the Council also considered various petitions written against 31 Judicial Officers and resolved to empanel three nvestigative committees against one Justice of Supreme Court and two State Chief Judges.
He said 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 against Hon. Mr. Justices Abdu Aboki, Theresa Abadua and Ahmed Belgore all of the Court of Appeal; Hon. Mr. Justices J. T. Tsoho, Ayo Emmanuel, SabiuYahusa, Zainab B. Abubakar, B. O. Quadri of the Federal High Court; Hon. Mr. Justices A. N. Ubaka and B. B. Kanyip of National Industrial Court; Hon. Mr. Justices Bello Kawu, S. C. Orji, A. N. Talba of the FCT High Court; Hon. Mr. Justice K. C. Nwankpa of High Court Abia State; Hon. Mr. Justice D. A. Onyefulu of High Court Anambra State; Hon. Mr. Justice W. I. A. Effiong High Court Akwa-Ibom State; A. M. Ikpambese, High Court Benue State; Hon. Mr. Justice G. E. Gbemre, High Court Delta State; Hon. Mr. Justice A. O. Onovo, High Court Enugu State; Hon. Mr. Justice Idi Apollos, High Court Gombe State; Hon. Mr. Justice G. O. Ogunsanya, High Court Ogun State; Hon. Mr. Justice A. B. Abdulkarim, High Court Osun State; Hon. Mr. Justice K. A. Ojiako, High Court Imo State and Hon. Mr Justices A. M. Lawal, L. A. Okunnu and L. B. LawalAkapo, High Court Lagos State.
“Council decided to advise Hon. Mr. Justice J. E. Ikede of Delta State High Court and Hon. Mr. Justice Yusuf Halilu of FCT High Court to be more careful in the course of their judicial duties.
“Council at the Meeting also recommended sixty (60) Judicial Officers to Governors of twenty-four (24) for appointment as High Court Judges, Sharia Court Kadis and Customary Court of Appeal Judges,” he said.