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NJC bars 3 judges from promotion over conflicting orders on PDP leadership crisis

  The National Judicial Council (NJC) says three judges will not be promoted for issuing conflicting ex parte orders.   Soji Oye, NJC di...

 

The National Judicial Council (NJC) says three judges will not be promoted for issuing conflicting ex parte orders.

 

Soji Oye, NJC director of information, in a statement issued on Tuesday, said the council arrived at the resolution during a two-day meeting held on December 14 and 15.

 

A few months ago, different judges issued conflicting orders on the leadership crisis of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and on candidacy controversies ahead of the Anambra governorship election.

 

Ibrahim Muhammad, chief justice of Nigeria (CJN), after quizzing seven chief judges on September 6, directed the NJC to set up a panel to probe three of them.

 

In the statement, Oye 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.”

 

All three judges also received warning letters urging them to be circumspect in granting ex parte orders in the future.

 

Oye said the council also approved the appointment of 63 judges for 16 states, nine of which are heads of court.


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