NJC recommends compulsory retirement of High Court Judge

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The National Judicial Council has recommended the compulsory retirement of Justice B. T. Ebuta of the High Court of Justice, Cross River State with immediate effect.

The decision was taken by the NJC, under the Chairmanship of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, at its 76th Meeting, which was held on June 1 and 2.

Ebuta was recommended for compulsory retirement from the Office to the Governor of Cross River State sequel to the findings by the Council on the allegations of abuse of judicial power, suppression and illegal/forceful takeover of a property in Calabar as contained in the petition written against him by Dr. Ekanem Cobham.

The petitioner alleged that Ebuta made an order based on ex-parte application without sitting in court.

Ebuta was said to have granted the said ex-parte application to unseal her property, which was sealed on the order of a Magistrate Court when her tenant, Ugochukwu Chijioke, failed to pay rent for two years.

Ekanem stated that she filed Suit No MC/RT/12/6/14 at the Magistrate Court, Calabar against her tenant for failing to pay her rent and judgement was delivered in her favour on November 10, 2014.

The petitioner said the respondent filed an ex-parte application in Suit No. MC/MSC/143/2014 before the Magistrate Court to unseal the property without her knowledge and that the Respondent’s Counsel filed a similar application at the High Court.
On getting to the High Court, she discovered that the Court did not sit.

That she applied and paid for the Certified True Copy of the purported Record of Proceedings, but was told by the Court Clerk that there was no sitting on that day as claimed by the Judge.

That her money was then returned to her and she reported this development to the Registrar of the Court.

The NJC, according to its spokesman, Soji Oye, investigated the allegations and found out that they were all true.

The statement by Oye added: “The allegation constitutes misconduct contrary to Section 292(1)(b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended and Rules 1.3 and 3.5 of the 2016 Revised Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“ers under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, suspended Hon. Justice B. T. Ebuta from office with immediate effect pending the approval of the recommendation of the Council for His Lordship’s compulsory retirement by the Governor of Cross River State.”

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