An Abuja Federal High Court on Thursday adjourned hearing till May 5 in a suit filed by Justice Peter Agumagu, Rivers Chief Judge, challenging his suspension by the National Judicial Council.
Justice Adeniyi Ademola fixed the date after listening to the submissions of Agumagu’s counsel, Mr Akin Olujinmi (SAN), and Jimoh Lasisi (SAN), NJC’s counsel.
Agumagu sued the NJC for suspending, querying and threatening to sack him for accepting to serve as Rivers Chief Judge on March 18.
The NJC is joined as co-respondents in the suit with Justices Babatunde Adejumo, Jubril Idris and Comwell Idahosa, chairman and members of the panel set up to investigate allegations against Agumagu.
The council had on March 27 announced Agumagu’s suspension, noting that his appointment and swearing-in on March 18 did not comply with Section 271 of the 1999 Constitution.
Adejumo (second respondent) notified the court that he had not been served with the court processes by the applicant.
“My lord, we cannot make any meaningful contribution before you now; we have to be served with the originating summons first,’’ he said.
He said that he only got to know about the suit through a letter written by the applicant to the NJC.
Responding, Olujinmi said he served Adejumo, together with the NJC, through the NJC’s office but the second defendant insisted that he ought to have been served as an individual, not by proxy.
Olujinmi, therefore, requested to serve the second defendant in court, a request to which he was obliged and the service
was done accordingly.
It will be further recalled that Agumagu had asked the court to restrain the investigation panel from taking any further step
in respect of his case until the determination of the substantive suit.
He also urged the court in the suit, numbered FHC/ABJ/CS/253/2014, to grant him an order of certiorari (judicial review to quash) the query and letter of suspension from office’’.
He also asked for an order “quashing the minutes of the decisions reached by the first respondent (NJC) at its emergency meeting of March 26, 2014’’ concerning him.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that in spite the suspension, Agumagu is still occupying the seat and the Rivers Government insists that the suspension is illegal and unconstitutional.