By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA—The National Judicial Council, NJC, has queried Justice Mohammed Yunusa of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, following allegations of judicial misconduct and perversion of justice levelled against him by the Civil Society Network Against Corruption, CSNAC.
The group had, in a petition lodged before the NJC headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, on December 15, 2015, raised sundry allegations against the judge, including the fact that he repeatedly issued perpetual injunctions that stopped the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, from prosecuting cases.
CSNAC stated: “The grant of the orders of mandatory and perpetual injunctions by Justice Yunusa against Economic and Financial Crimes Commissions, EFCC, is a grave departure from the established principles as laid down by the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, which are binding on the Federal High Court, being a lower court.
“Honorable Justice Yunusa, by the grant of these orders, has stripped EFCC of its constitutional powers as a law enforcement agency, as well its powers under the enabling law, the Economic and Financial Crimes (Establishment) Act, LFN 2004, a federal legislation. It is also a gross abuse of his powers as a judicial officer.”
Besides, the petitioners, led by CSNAC Chairman, Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju, told NJC that Justice Yunusa’s action would “undoubtedly serve as a leeway for unscrupulous and corrupt individuals, who will stop at nothing to truncate their arrest and prosecution by the appropriate law enforcement agencies to render our criminal law ineffective, as well as allowing corruption fester in the society.”
Meanwhile, over three months after the petition was filed, the NJC finally succumbed to pressure and queried the judge on March 16.
The query, marked NJC/F3/FHC.49/1/421, signed by the CJN read: “I forward, herewith, a petition dated December 21, 2015, against you by Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju, Chairman, Civil Society Network Against Corruption, CSNAC, on the above subject matter.
“The petition speaks for itself. I shall be glad to have your comments within 14 days from the date of your receipt of this letter, please.”