ICYMI

May 17, 2024

Judicial Misconduct: NJC sets up panel to probe 35 petitions against 8 judges

Judges

File: Picture used to demonstrate the story

…okays elevation of Wike’s wife, 21 others to Court of Appeal

…bars 2 judges from getting promotion to Appeal Court for a period

By Ikechukwu Nnochiri

The National Judicial Council, NJC, on Friday, said it has constituted panels to investigate eight judges for alleged judicial misconduct.

The Council, in a statement it made available to newsmen, said its Preliminary Complaints Assessment Committees filtered 35 petitions that were written against the judicial officers and them to be meritorious.

However, the legal body stressed that other petitions that were brought against 20 High Court judges across the federation, were dismissed for lack of merit, evidence of misconduct, subjudice or that they were matters that could be appealed.

It further disclosed that stern warnings were issued to Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja for abuse of discretionary power of a Judge by wrongly granting an ex parte order, as well as to Justice G. B. Brikins-Okolosi of the Delta State High Court for his failure to deliver judgement within stipulated period.

Whereas Justice Ekwo was barred from getting promotion to the appellate court for a period of two years, Justice Brikins-Okolosi was barred for three years.

Besides, the NJC, which took the decisions at its 105th plenary meeting held on May 15 and 16, okayed the elevation of 22 judges to the Court of Appeal.

Among those that made the list of judges to be promoted to the bench of the appellate court, included the wife of the former Governor of Rivers State and Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, Hon. Justice Nyesom-Wike Eberechi Suzzette.

According to the Council, 64 others were recommended for appointment as judges of various other lower courts.

It said the recommended candidates were expected to be sworn-in after the approval of their appointment by President Bola Tinubu and Governors of their respective states.

Likewise, the Council said it deliberated on the notification of retirements of three Judicial Officers, among whom included the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, as well as the notification of death of three Judges of the Federal and State Courts.

The statement, which was signed by the Director of Information at the NJC, Soji Oye, read: “The National Judicial Council under the Chairmanship of Hon. Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, GCON, at its plenary of 105th Meeting held on 15 & 16 May 2024, resolved to issue warning letters to Hon Justice Inyang E. Ekwo of the Federal High Court and Hon. Justice G. B. Brikins-Okolosi of Delta State High Court.

“Hon Justice Inyang E. Ekwo is warned for abuse of discretionary power of a Judge by wrongly granting an ex parte order in Suit No FHC/ABJ/C/626/2023 Juliet Ebere Nwadi Gbaka & 2 Ors V Seplat Energy Plc & 12 Ors.

“The Hon Judge is also barred from being elevated to a higher Bench for a period of two years.

“Hon. Justice G. B. Brikins-Okolosi of Delta State High Court is also issued a warning for failure to deliver judgement within stipulated period in Joseph Anene Okafor Vs Skye Bank, Suit No A/94/2010 after parties had filed and adopted their final Written Addresses.

“Justice G. B. Brikins-Okolosi will also not be elevated to a higher Bench for a period of three years.

“Council cautioned Hon. Justice Amina Shehu of Yobe State High Court for issuing Writ of Possession Conferring Title on the Defendant in Suit No YBS/HC/NNR/1cv/2020 when there was no subsisting judgement of any Court to enable His Lordship issue the Writ.

“Council at the meeting considered two Reports of its two Preliminary Complaints Assessment Committees that filtered 35 petitions written against Judges of the Federal and State High Courts and decided to empanel eight Committees to further investigate the petitions that were found meritorious by the Committees.

“Petition against various Judges were dismissed for lack of merit, evidence of misconduct, subjudice or that they were matters that could be appealed.

“The dismissed petitions were against Hon Justices A. M. Liman, A. A. Okeke, D. E. Osiagor of the Federal High Court, Hon Justices S. B. Belgore, Bello Kawu both of the High Court of Federal Capital Territory, Hon Justices O. A. Chijioke, A. E. Akeredolu and Kadi M. U. El-Mainari who sat on Election Petition Tribunal in Edo State, Hon Justice Okey Paulinus Aneke, High Court Enugu State and Hon Justice C. Anya of Abia State.

“Others are Hon Justices M. A. Ikpambese and W. I. Kpochi both of Benue High Court, Hon Justices T. E. Chukwuemeka Chikeka Chief Judge and B. C. Iheka of Imo State High Court, Hon Justice Rose Godwin Soji of Nasarawa State High Court, Hon Justice T. J. Yakubu, High Court Taraba State, High Justices W. N. Danagogo and Chinwendu Nworgu, High Court Rivers State, Hon Justice C. C. Okaa, High Court Anambra State and Hon Justice Abdullahi Sulyman High Court, Kogi State.

“The Council deliberated on the notification of retirements of three Judicial Officers including that of the Chief Justice of Nigeria Hon Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, GCON and notification of death of three Judges of the Federal and State Courts.

“Council at the Meeting also considered the recommendation of its Interview Committee on Appointment of Judicial Officers of all Superior Courts of Record in Nigeria and resolved to recommend the under-listed 86 Judicial Officers for appointment to the Court of Appeal, High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Sharia Courts of Appeal and Customary Courts of Appeal of States in Nigeria.

They are as follows:

“Twenty-Two (22) Justices, Court of Appeal: Hon. Justice Kwahar Polycarp Terna, Hon. Justice Ruqayat Oremei Ayoola, Hon. Justice Eleojo Eneche, Hon. Justice Asma’u Akanbi-Yusuf, Hon. Justice Abdullahi Muhammad Liman, Hon. Justice Abdu Dogo, Hon. Justice Fadawu Umaru, Hon. Justice Ishaq Mohammed Sani, Hon. Justice Zainab Bage Abubakar, Hon. Justice Abdulazeez M.  Anka, Hon. Justice Nnamdi Okwy Dimgba, Hon. Justice Nwoye Victoria Tochukwu, Hon. Justice Nwabunkeonye Onwosi, Hon. Justice Okorowo Donatus Uwaezuoke.

“Hon. Justice Ngozika Uwazurunonye Okaisabor, Hon. Justice Ntong Festus Ntong, Hon. Justice Nehizena Idemudia Afolabi, Hon. Justice Nyesom-Wike Eberechi Suzzette, 19.  Hon. Justice Lateef Babajide Lawal-Akapo, Hon. Justice Akinyemi Abiodun Azeem, Hon. Justice Oyewumi Oyejoju Oyebiola and Hon. Justice Olukayode Adegbola Adeniyi.

“Twelve (12) Judges, High Court, FCT, Abuja: Ademuyiwa Olakunle Oyeyipo, Bamodu Odunayo Olutomi, Anumaenwe Godwin Iheabunike, Odo Celestine Obinna, Hauwa Lawal Gummi, Abdurahman Usman, Buetnaan Mandy Bassi, Sarah Benjamin Inesu Avoh, Maryan Iye Yusuf, Ariwoola Oluwakemi Victoria, Lesley Nkesi Belema Wike and Munirat Ibrahim Tanko.

“Seven (7) Judges, Imo State High Court: Akowundu Cletus Ndubuisi, Uchenna Mary Njoku, Chibuogwu Ojiugo Chukwumaeze, Ononogbo Chidi Linus, Adaego Peace Nosiri, Emeka Ozoma Orafu, Mathew Chinedu Ijezie.

“Six (6) Judges, Bauchi State High Court: Amin Umar Ilelah, Aliyu Bin Idris, Ahmed Shuaibu Ningi, Shafa’u Ladan Yusuf, Abdussalam Idris Waziri, Kawu A. Yerima.

“Three (3) Judges, Taraba State High Court: Hamidu Audu, Bibonga Jeniffer Nauma, Joel Daniel Ubandoma.

“Thirteen Judges, Lagos State High Court: Sunmonu Tunde Bashiru, Azeez Fimisola Augusta, Alebiosu Olawale Lawal, Adewale Russel Musiliu, Popoola Oluwatosin Ajose, Anjorin-Ajose Tanimola Abdulwaheed, Muyideen Abdul-Raheem Tejumade, George Alfred Akingbola, Balogun Adegboyega Ganiu, Shonubi Adenike Kudirat, Badejo-Okusanya Yewande Jokotola, Layinka Oyeladun Amope, Ojuromi Nalirat Olayinka Oluwatosin.

“Four (4) Judges, Kogi State High Court: Ajesola Joseph Sunday, Ojoma Rachael Haruna, Kadiri Badama, Ezema Beatrice Ada.

“Two (2) Judges, Jigawa State High Court: Mohammad El-Usman, Nilfa Abdullahi Gambo.

“Five (5) Kadis, Sharia Court of Appeal, Bauchi State: Ishaku Magaji Abdurrahman Hassan Sabo, Bello Mohammed Sambowal, Muhyiddeen Mohammed, Mahmoud Idris Shehu Tiyin.

“Five (5) Kadis, Sharia Court of Appeal, Kogi State: Muhammad Muhammad Bello, Okino Isah Saidu, Yakubu Adavenge Abbas, Shaibu Ridwan Aliyu, Idris Alhaji Abdullahi.

“One (1) Kadi, Sharia Court of Appeal, Jigawa State: Mukhtar Shuaibu Adam.

“Three (3) Judges, Imo State Customary Court of Appeal: Everyman Ezenna Eleanya, Ofoha Sylvesta Uchenna, Ibeh Rosemond Oluchi.

“Two Judges, Customary Court of Appeal, Taraba State: Esther Tata, Benjamin Samuila Bawage.

“One (1) Judge, Customary Court of Appeal, Kogi State: Maryann Oziohu Otaru.

“All recommended candidates are expected to be sworn-in after the approval of the NJC recommendations to the President and their respective State Governors,” the statement read.