NJC Hammer Falls On Judges Accused Of Misconduct

NJC Hammer Falls On Judges Accused Of Misconduct


The National Judicial Council (NJC) on Tuesday took steps towards punishing acts of misconduct and other ethical breaches by judges and legal practioners in the country, recommending the compulsory retirement of Justice O. Gbajabiamila of the Lagos State High Court and Justice Idris M. J. Evuti of the Niger State High Court with immediate effect.

The NJC also considered a petition from Mohammed Idris Eggun against Evuti and Tanko Yusuf Usman of the High Court of Niger State on falsification of their dates of birth.

In a statement by Mr. Soji Oye, Acting Director, Information, NJC, the council announced that Gbajabiamila was recommended for retirement from based on the outcome of an investigation by the council on allegations contained in petitions written against him by Mr. C. A. Candide Johnson, SAN.

The NJC statement said: “The allegations are: That the Hon. Judge delivered judgment in Suit No ID\1279\2007 P. K. Ojo Vs SDV & SCOA Nigeria Plc, twenty-two months (22), after written addresses were adopted by all the Counsel and Thirty-five (35) months after the close of evidence in the Suit, contrary to the Constitutional Provisions that judgments should be delivered within a period of 90 days.

“That His Lordship did not publish a copy of judgment he delivered on 24th December, 2013 until after 40 days, contrary to the provision of the Constitution which required that a copy of the Judgment of a Superior Court of Record be given to Parties in the case within 7 days of delivery.

“That the Hon. Judge continued to hear the Suit in his Court after he had been notified of the pendency of a Motion for a Stay Of Execution at the Court of Appeal and that an appeal had been entered.
“Prior to the issuance of the first writ of attachment, the Court Registrar under the direct administration of the Hon. Judge falsely misrepresented to the Deputy Sheriff in a memo dated 28th November, 2014, that there was no Appeal or Motion in the case file as at 28th November 2014. Meanwhile, there were two Notices of Appeal and two Summons to settle Records in the Court’s file.

“That the Hon. Judge gave an Order on 23rd February, 2015 upon an Ex-parte application substituting the name of SDV Nigeria Ltd with Bollore Logistics Nigeria Ltd without serving the Order of substitution on the affected party or its legal representatives.

“That the Hon. Judge failed to maintain Professional competence required to preserve the integrity of the Judiciary.

“The above allegations constitute misconduct contrary to Section 292 (1) (b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended and Rules 1.3, 3.3, 3.4 and 3.7 of the 2016 Revised Code Of Conduct for Judicial Officers Of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“In the interim, the National Judicial Council in exercise of its power under Paragraph 21 Sub-Paragraph (d) of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, has suspended Hon. O. Gbaja-Biamila from Office with immediate effect.

Concerning Evuti, the NJC report showed that he falsified his age with thre different dates of birth: September 15, 1950; April 10, 1953; and April 1, 1953.

The NJC also advised the Niger State government to deduct all salaries received by him from September, 2015 till date from his gratuity and remit it to the NJC, which pays the salary of all judicial officers in Nigeria.

With respect to the Hon. Justice Tanko Yusuf Usman, the NJC did not recommend his compulsory retirement because it had already accepted his retirement with effect from 1st March, 2016.

“With respect to the Hon. Justice Tanko Yusuf Usman, Council did not recommend his compulsory retirement because it had already accepted his retirement with effect from 1st March, 2016. However, Council decided to write to the Government of Niger State, to deduct from the gratuity the salaries received by him from June 2015 when His Lordship should have retired from the Bench.

“Council at the same Meeting exonerated Hon. Justice Saliu Saidu of the Federal High Court, Lagos of misconduct as it found unsubstantiated a Petition of alleged misconduct written against him by Securities and Exchange Commission.

“The Counsel to the Securities and Exchange Commission Oluwaseun Olusiyi was also reported to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee for walking out on the Judge on the matter when she was told the matter was not ripe for hearing for disciplinary action.”Hon. Judge was alleged to have been biased in granting Ex-parte Orders of injunction against the Commission in Suit No FNC\L\CS\767\15: BGL Ltd and Ors V. Securities and Exchange Commission without due regard to the relevant factors and circumstances of the case.”


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