The National Judicial Council (NJC) has recommended the compulsory retirements of two judges, Justice Mohammed Yunusa of the Federal High Court, Lagos, and Justice Olamide Oloyede of Osun State High Court.
The NJC, in a statement signed by the Council’s Acting Director of Information, Soji Oye, said the judges were found guilty of professional misconduct at the 77th meeting of the council held on July 15.
Oye said the recommendation of the meeting chaired by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed had been forwarded to President Muhammadu Buhari, and Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun, for approval.
He said the NJC in exercise of its disciplinary powers had suspended Yunusa and Oloyede from office, pending the approval of their compulsory retirement.
He said Yunusa was axed pursuant to allegations contained in a petition written against him by the Civil Society Network Against Corruption.
Yunusa, the statement added, granted interim orders and perpetual injunctions restraining the Attorney General of the Federation, Inspector General of Police, ICPC and the EFCC from arresting, investigating and prosecuting some persons accused of corruption.
The spokesman said the cases were FHC\L\CS\1471\2015 between Simon John Adonimere & 3 Ors Vs. EFCC and FHC\L\CS\477\14 FRN V Michael Adenuga.
Others were FHC\L\CS\1342\15 Senator Stella Odua Vs. AGF, EFCC, ICPC & IGP and FHC\L\CS\1285\15 Jyde Adelakun & Anor Vs. Chairman EFCC & Anor,
FHC\L\CS\1455\ Dr. Martins Oluwafemi Thomas Vs. EFCC
The others were FHC\L\CS\1269\15 Hon. Shamsudeen Abogu Vs. EFCC & Ors as well as FHC\L\CS\1012\15 Hon. Etete Dauzia Loya Vs. EFCC.
He said the council found that Yunusa assumed jurisdiction in suit FHC\L\CS\1342\15 wherein the infringement of the applicant’s right occurred in Abuja contrary to Section 46 (1) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended)
Oye also said “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”.
According to him, such an oversight led to the order stopping EFCC from Investigation into a money laundering case involving $2.2 million against the applicant.
The spokesman said Yunusa’s decision restraining the anti-graft agencies from carrying out their statutory functions in the first six cases mentioned earlier was contrary to the judgment of the Court of Appeal in A.G Anambra State Vs. UBA.
He said that “Yunusa cited the case but did not apply it in his ruling”.
“On the allegations against Oloyede by Osun Civil Societies Coalition, council also recommended her to Gov Rauf Aregbesola, for compulsory retirement from office.
The judge failed to conduct herself in such a manner as to preserve the dignity of her office and impartiality and independence of the judiciary.
She derailed when she wrote a petition against the Osun State Governor and his Deputy to the Members of the State House of Assembly and circulated same to 36 persons and organisations,
The petition was said to contain political statements, unsubstantiated allegations and accusations aimed at deriding, demeaning and undermining the Government of Osun State.
This further put the character of the governor as one who is cruel, a liar and a traitor.
The petition contained statements calculated to incite the residents 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,” he said.
Oye said the allegations against the Oloyede constituted a misconduct contrary to Section 292 (1) (b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.
He said the judge specifically violated Rules 1 (1) and 5 of the 2016 Revised Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Photo Credit: Federal High Court