By Sunday Ejike Benjamin
The Federal Government has challenged the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court in Abuja to hear the suit instituted against it by retired Justice Gladys Olotu who was recently forced to retire from the bench on grounds of gross misconduct by the National Judicial Council (NJC).
When the matter came up yesterday, counsel to President Goodluck Jonathan and Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Taiwo Abidogun informed the court of his preliminary objection to the jurisdictional powers of the court to hear and determine the suit.
In his written address in support of the preliminary objection, Mr. Abidogun said: “Challenging the jurisdiction of the court is a threshold issue. It is a warning signal to the court that it is about to embark on a matter it has no jurisdiction and it could lead to a nullity”.
Mr. Abidogun explained further that the grounds upon which the objection is sought are that the substantive matter relates to and is connected with the employment of the Applicant, Justice Olotu, an erstwhile employee of the federal government.
He said: “Sections 254 (c) clearly vests jurisdiction on employment matter on the National Industrial Court”.
Counsel to the plaintiff, Sunday Ameh (SAN) who was represented by D.M. Idoko, complained to the court that he had just been served the preliminary objection by the counsel to the 1st and 3rd respondents, and requested for more time to enable him file his response.
Olotu, who was on February 27, 2014 ordered to vacate her office after the National Judicial Council found her guilty of judicial misconduct, is seeking a reversal of the decision which she contended was in breach of her fundamental human rights.
The trial judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola adjourned further hearing of the matter till April 28, 2014.