A Federal High Court yesterday restrained the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), the Director State Security Service (SSS), the Inspector General of Police (IG) and the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and others from arresting and detaining Justice Gladys Olotu who was recently retired from the bench for gross misconduct.
The order of injunction was granted by Justice Adeniyi Ademola pending the determination of the suit she instituted challenging her forceful retirement from service by the National Judicial Council (NJC).
After she was retired for gross misconduct, she approached the court in Abuja for a judicial review of his suspension.
The court had earlier asked the parties to maintain status quo.
She later approached the court for an order restraining the EFCC, ICPC, SSS, the police and the CCB and others from arresting and detaining her pending the determination of the suit she instituted challenging her forceful retirement from service.
Justice Olotu, who was a formerly Solicitor General and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Edo State, former Chief Registrar, High Court Directorate, Edo State Judiciary as well as former Secretary, Judicial Service Commission, also in the state, was soon after her sack, invited by the EFCC, where she was grilled over some landed properties allegedly belonging to her.
The NJC had on February 26 announced Justice Olotu’s compulsory retirement from office for gross misconduct alongside an Abuja High Court judge, Justice U. A Inyang.
She was recommended for compulsory retirement from office pursuant to the â€œfindingsâ€ by the council on the allegations contained in the petitions written against the judge wherein she was alleged to have failed to deliver judgment in a matter, only to deliver same in Suit No. FHC/UY/250/2003, 18 months after the final address by all the counsel in the suit, contrary to the constitutional provisions that judgments should be delivered within a period of 90 days.
Amongst other allegations, the judge was said to have admitted before the Fact-finding Committee of the council that investigated the allegations that she forgot she had a pending ruling to deliver in an application for joinder.
In a motion exparte filed on her behalf by Mr. Okey Obikeze before Justice Adeniyi Ademola, she prayed the court to make an order directing the EFCC, ICPC, IGP, CCB as well as other defendants in the suit, to stay all actions on matters relating to or connected with the fact of the case, particularly, inviting, interrogating, harassing, arresting and detaining her, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
Other defendants in the suit are Centre for Network Against Corruption, an NGO which had petitioned the anti-graft agency alleging financial improprieties against the judge, the Attorney General of the Federation, the NJC, Justice S.M.A Belgore, Chief Gabriel Igbenedion, Ponticelli Nigeria Limited, Stolt Offshore Services S.A, The Vessel M.V Theo, the Owners of The Vessel M.V Theo, Elf Nigeria Petroleum Ltd, ABC Maritime AG, The Vessel M.V Lara and The Vessel M.V Krysia.
Justice Olotu also sought leave of the court to serve court documents relating to the suit on Stolt Offshore Services S.A out of jurisdiction at the company’s headquarters in Middlesex, England, as well as to serve Vessel M.V Theo, the Owners of The Vessel M.V Theo, Elf Nigeria Petroleum Ltd, ABC Maritime AG, The Vessel M.V Lara and The Vessel M.V Krysia, in Switzerland where they are domiciled.
She also sought leave of court to serve court papers on Chief Gabriel Igbinedion at his Abuja home at the upscale Maitama district.