The National Judicial Council, NJC on Sunday confirmed that it has recommended Justice Mohammed Nasiru Yunusa of the Lagos division of the Federal High Court and Justice Olamide Folahanmi Oloyede of the Osun State High Court for compulsory retirement.
NewsWireNGR recalls that Ms. Oloyede had accused the Aregbesola administration, in a petition to the House of Assembly, of mismanaging the state’s resources, plunging it into a state of financial chaos. The house dismissed the petition after its panel on the matter reported that Ms. Oloyede failed to substantiate her allegations with any evidence.
While confirming the development, the NJC in a statement signed by Soji Oye, its acting Director of Information also explained why it recommended the two judges for sack at its 77th meeting, which held on 15 July, under the chairmanship of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed.
NJC said it recommended the compulsory retirement of Justice Yunusa after it investigated allegations contained in petitions written against him by the Civil Society Network Against Corruption, CSNAC.
CNAC had in the petition alleged that Yunusa granted interim orders and perpetual injunctions restraining the Attorney-General of the Federation, Inspector- General of Police, Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from arresting, investigating and prosecuting some persons accused of corruption in seven cases.
The civil society organization listed the cases as (FHC\L\CS\1471\2015) between Simon John Adonimere & 3 Ors Vs. EFCC; (FHC\L\CS\477\14) FRN V MichaelAdenuga; (FHC\L\CS\1342\15); Senator Stella Oduah Vs. AG Federation, EFCC, ICPC and IGP; and ( FHC\L\CS\1285\15):) Jude Adelakun & Anor Vs. Chairman EFCC & Anor.
The others are (FHC\L\CS\1455\) Dr. Martins Oluwafemi Thomas Vs. EFCC;(FHC\L\CS\1269\15) Hon Shamsudeen Abogu Vs. EFCC & Ors; and (FHC\L\CS\1012\15) Hon. Etete Dauzia Loya Vs. EFCC.
NJC explained that its investigations of the petitions revealed that Justice Yunusa assumed jurisdiction in Federal High Court, Lagos, in Suit FHC\L\CS\1342\15 even though the infringement of the applicant’s right occurred in Abuja.
This, said the council, is contrary to Section 46 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
The Council also said it discovered that Yunusa contravened Rule 3. 1 of the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers in Suit FHC\L\CS\1445\15 by claiming ignorance of the provisions of the Money Laundering Act when he gave an order stopping EFCC from conducting an investigation into a $2.2million money laundering case against the applicant.
According to NJC, Justice Yunusa’s decision to restrain the anti-graft agencies from performing their statutory functions in the first six listed cases is contrary to the judgement of the Court of Appeal in AG Anambra State Vs. UBA, which he quoted, but did not apply in his rulings.
NJC however said the grounds for the recommendations of compulsory retirement of Justice Oloyede of Osun State High Court were contained in petitions written by Osun Civil Societies Coalition.
The NJC said its investigations revealed that Justice Oloyede conducted herself in a manner inimical to the dignity of her office as well as impartiality and independence of the judiciary when she sent a petition against Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State and his deputy to the State House of Assembly.
The Judge also circulated the petition to 36 persons and organizations.
“The petition was said to contain political statements, unsubstantiated allegations and accusations aimed at deriding, demeaning and undermining the Government of Osun State, the person and character of the Governor (as one who is cruel, a liar and a traitor), his deputy and aides,” the statement explained.
The NJC concluded that the petition bore statements made with the intention of inciting the people of Osun State against the state government and its elected officers.
“Hon. Justice Oloyede crossed the fundamental right of freedom of speech and created a negative perception of the Nigerian Judiciary to the public.
“The allegations against the Hon. Judge constitute a misconduct contrary to Section 292 (1) (b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended and Rules 1 (1) and 5 of the 2016 Revised Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” the NJC stated.
Based on the findings, the NJC said it has suspended Justices Yunusa and Oloyede from office pending the approval of its recommendation for their compulsory retirement by President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Aregbesola respectively.