By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA–The National Judicial Council, NJC, has reinstated Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia as a judge of the Federal High Court.
The legal body based its decision on a court judgement that quashed a 15-count money laundering charge the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, preferred against the embattled judge.
It will be recalled that the NJC had okayed Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia’s prosecution, following a petition dated December 28, 2017, which accused her of engaging in various acts considered to be in breach of the Code of Conduct of Judicial Officers.
Based on recommendation by the Council, President Muhammadu Buhari, on November 7, 2018, in the exercise of his constitutional power under Section 292 (1) (b) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, dismissed Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia as a judge of the Federal High Court.
However, owing to an application by Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia, the trial high court, in a ruling it delivered on November 19, 2021, discharged the defendant of the charge against her.
The court placed reliance on a judgement that was delivered on November 28, 2019, in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/638/2018, which quashed the NJC report that indicted the defendant.
Sequel to the court judgement, the NJC, at the end of a meeting it held on December 1, okayed the reinstatement of Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia to the bench, a directive that has been complied with by the Chief Judge of the High Court, Justice John Tsoho.
Justice Tsoho, in a circular that was sighted by Vanguard, said Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia’s reinstatement was with immediate effect.
The circular, dated December 5, read: “Your Lordships are by this Circular letter notified that at the Meeting of the National Judicial Council held on the 1st of December, 2022, the Council reinstated the Hon. Justice R. N. Ofili-Ajumogobia as a Judicial Officer.
“The reinstatement takes instant effect and there shall be consequential posting.”