….Bars Judges under investigation from performing official duties
The National Judicial Council (NJC) has appealed against a judgment delivered by Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court, Abuja, restraining the council from proceeding with the investigation of Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the same court, over alleged misconduct.
The NJC in it’s notice of appeal said that Justice Tsoho erred in law by assuming jurisdiction in the case where the National Industrial Court has exclusive jurisdiction.
According to the NJC, Justice Ademola being a serving judge was under its supervision and regulation.
NJC argued that it was performing its supervisory and regulatory roles by seeking to investigate Justice Ademola on issues relating to performance of his official duties.
The NJC joined in the suit other three members of the panel investigating the petition against Justice Ademola.
They are Justice Umar Abdullahi (rtd), Justice Babatunde Adejumo and Mrs. Rakiya Ibrahim – the NJC raised 10 grounds of appeal and urged the court to set aside the judgment.
The Daily Times recalls that Justice Tsoho had on July 7 barred the NJC from inviting Justice Ademola for investigation over a petition filed against him by one Jenkins Duvie Giane Gwede in 2016, but was later withdrawn by the petitioner.
The judge, who held that Justice Ademola should not be made to prove his innocence over a petition that was voluntarily withdrawn by the petitioner, said NJC’s insistence that Justice Ademola must appear before it was contrary to the provision of Section 36 (5 and 6) of the 1999 Constitution and unlawful.
In a related development, the NJC has barred Judges standing trial over alleged acts of corruption in various courts from performing their judicial duties.
The decision only affects Justices H. A. Nganjiwa of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt and Agbadu James Fishim of the National Industrial Court who have been charged to court on alleged corrupt practices.
The council had earlier in it’s meeting of June 1, 2017, lifted the ban placed on the affected judges, including Justices Adeniyi Ademola of the Abuja division of the Federal High Court, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta and his brother, Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice John Okoro as well as Nganjiwa and Fishim.
The decision by the NJC had elicited serious controversy in the land, but got the support of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), including senior members of the inner bar like Chief Sabastine Hon (SAN) and Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN).
The Council had premised its decision on the fact that some of the affected judges were not charged to court long after their arrest by the Department of State Security Service (DSS) over alleged acts of corruption.