Nigeria: Tension as National Judicial Council meets over 69 judges

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There seems to be no escape route for corrupt judicial workers in the country, as National Judicial Council, NJC, meets today to consider no fewer than 69 petitions filed by aggrieved Nigerians against judges across the country.

Interestingly, the meeting of NJC is coinciding with the first anniversary of the inauguration of the first female Chief Justice of Nigeria, Aloma Mukhtar, who was sworn into office on July 16, 2012.

Although the CJN is not organising any event to mark her one year in office, Vanguard learnt that the meeting of NJC, which she is to preside over, might have been slated to enable her take stock of her performance.

The meeting, which will last for two days, will review the cases of no fewer than 69 judges, who had earlier been queried by the council for various infractions.

It was learnt that notable among the corrupt cases are those of a very senior judge of the Federal High Court in Abuja, who had been giving highly controversial judgements that had frequently embarrassed the judiciary.

Also being probed by the NJC is a female judge from one of the Southern states, who had also become famous for handing down contentious verdicts.

One of the controversial judges, whose case would likely come up for deliberation, recently left on his own volition and took up a traditional post in his state.

The CJN has insisted that the verdict on the man, whose probe started before he opted to resign, must be made public at the appropriate time.

A competent source confirmed to Vanguard, yesterday, that the meeting of NJC would consider the responses by judges, who had earlier been queried over their conduct in their respective states.

The source said: “The judges who are being investigated cut across the length and breadth of Nigeria and the NJC will spend two days looking at those that should be penalised or exonerated.”

not,” the source, who pleaded anonymity, said.

“I can tell you that the petitions against some of the judges are very strong and there is no way they can escape the wrath of the NJC.”

The CJN had hinted last week that there were some genuine petitions pending in her office and that they would be carefully looked into by the council.

Mukhtar said, ‘’I inherited 139 petitions, 106 of which were vexatious or baseless; only 33 of the petitions were considered worthy of attention.

“After my assumption of office as Chief Justice, 198 fresh petitions were filed. Of this number, 150 were found to be frivolous, 15 are awaiting responses from Judges and only 21 were slated for consideration’’, she stated

Meanwhile, the CJN is said to have rebuffed entreaties by a South-East governor for a friendly visit during which he planned to discuss a pending suit.

But the CJN, who is said to have vowed not to entertain any politician either in her office or residence, is reported to have issued stern instructions to her security men not to allow the governor into her residence, when he arrived at the gate.

Similarly, a top Federal Government official, who recently wanted an audience with the CJN, was also disappointed, as the woman refused to see him when he arrived at her home.

“I have said it repeatedly that I do not want to receive any politician and that position has not changed,’’ a source close to her said on Monday.

The CJN, who made history as the first female to occupy the top post, is due for retirement in November next year.

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Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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