Three Nigerian judges on Tuesday has been ordered by the National Judicial Council (NJC) to be denied promotion whenever they are due to over conflicting rulings on a leadership case of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and candidacy controversies ahead of the Anambra governorship election.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, had earlier approved the probe of the three judges over conflicting verdicts in their courts.
The earlier summoned judges are the chief judges of Rivers, Kebbi, Cross River, Anambra, Jigawa, FCT and Imo states. But after questioning, 3 of the judges — Rivers, Kebbi, and Cross River — were recommended for a probe.
Furious by their actions, the CJN had said; “Your job as Heads of Court is a sacred one, and it, therefore, includes you vicariously taking the sins of others. There must be an end to this nonsense”.
Disclosing the decision of the NJC after a probe of the matter, Soji Oye, NJC director of information, in a statement issued on Tuesday, said the council at the resolution during a two-day meeting held on December 14 and 15 said; “Even though there was no written petition, allegations of corruption or impropriety against the subject judges, council nevertheless, initiated an investigation pursuant to its inherent disciplinary powers under the constitution to unravel the circumstances that led to the spate of ex parte orders granted by these courts of coordinate jurisdiction over matters bearing same parties and subject matter.”
In the meeting which was chaired by Mary Peter-Odili, deputy chairman of the council, it was agreed that Okogbule Gbasam, judge of the high court of Rivers state “be barred from elevation to higher bench for two years whenever he is due, as he failed to exercise due diligence in granting the ex parte order in Suit No: PHC/2183/CS/2021 between Ibealwuchi Earnest Alex & 4 Ors and Prince Uche Secondus & anor, as there was no real urgency, in the circumstances of the matter, that would have required an ex parte order.
“Council also resolved that hon. justice Nusirat I. Umar of the high court of Kebbi state be barred from elevation to higher Bench for two years whenever due, having found fundamental defects and non-compliance with the law in granting the ex parte order in suit no: KB/HC/M.71/2021 between Yahaya Usman & 2 Ors and Prince Uche Secondus & anor.
“Hon. justice Edem Ita Kooffreh of the high court of Cross River state will not be promoted to higher bench for five years for allowing himself to be used as a tool for “forum shopping” and abuse of court process in suit No: HC/240/2021 between Enang Kanum Wani and Uche Secondus as it was evident that, in granting the ex parte order, he was seised of earlier orders of the high courts of Rivers and Kebbi states, being courts of coordinate jurisdiction with his.
“The council also placed him on its Watch-List for a period of two years.”