A former Chief Judge of the Abuja High Court, Justice Lawal Gummi, has accused the National Judicial Council (NJC) of disrespecting the instruction of a Federal High Court that it should suspend his probe pending the determination of a suit filed by him.
At the resumed hearing of the suit he filed to restrain the NJC from further probing him, his lawyer, Chief Okunade Olorundare (SAN), drew the attention of the court to the fact that the council had continued with the probe despite the court's advice that the status quo be maintained.
He said against the admonition by the trial Judge, Justice Adamu Bello, that parties in Gummi’s suit challenging his probe should adhere to the principle of les pendis (pending matter before the court), the council had continued with the probe.
He said the committee set up to investigate Gummi sat between May 10 and 11.
According to him, the council, in utter disrespect to the court, refused to suspend the probe.
Olorundare said the council acted in bad faith by its refusal to stop the probe as required by law.
Olorundare sought to subponea the council to compel it to produce its proceedings of May 10 and 11 in court.
Counsel to NJC and other defendants in the matter, Philip Jimoh Lasisi (SAN) and Amobe Nzelu, objected to the subponea and challenged the jurisdiction of the court to hear Gummi's suit.
They told the court that it lacked the jurisdiction to hear the matter, as the origination summons of the plaintiff did not complain of any administrative action or decision by NJC affecting his civil rights.
The counsel submitted that the court should first determine whether it had power to entertain the suit before going into the substantive issue raised by Gummi.
However, Justice Bello in a brief ruling, said he would hear both the preliminary objection and the substantive case together to save the time of the court.
He then ordered the parties to file and exchange their written addresses for adoption on July 11.
Gummi had sued the NJC and six others, challenging the competence of the council to probe him over an allegation of abuse of power while he was the head of the FCT judiciary because he had since ceased to be a judicial officer.
He had voluntarily retired on May 13 and had paid three months’ salary in lieu of notice.