ABUJA—National Judicial Council, NJC, yesterday, adjourned till today to continue an emergency meeting it is currently holding in Abuja to determine the fate of about 69 judges under probe over their alleged involvement in acts of corruption.
This is even as the Council, at the end of its sitting, which was chaired by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Mariam Aloma Muktar, okayed the appointment of new high court judges.
According to a source at the meeting, who spoke to Vanguard on grounds of anonymity, “our meeting went very well.
“In fact, the CJN insisted that we tackle most of the issues slated for deliberation though we were not able to delve into the pending petitions against some judges.
“We decided to leave that till Thursday (today), though the council approved the appointment of new high court judges.”
The source declined to either mention the names of the persons approved for elevation to the Bench or their state, saying he doesn’t have the mandate to disclose such information to the public.
Meanwhile, the CJN, who clocked one year in office on Tuesday, had earlier expressed her determination to sack any of the judges the council will find professionally wanting after due consideration of petitions entered against them by aggrieved Nigerians.
Cases for NJC probe
Investigation by Vanguard had revealed that notable among the corrupt cases to be considered by the NJC today include those of a very senior judge of the Federal High Court in Abuja, who was accused of giving highly controversial judgments that had often embarrassed the judiciary.
Another case is that of a female judge from one of the Southern states, who was said to have on many occasions abused her office by issuing frivolous injunctions to contending politicians.
The NJC will also probe the circumstances that led to the voluntary retirement of a former Chief Judge, who left office to take up a traditional title few weeks after he was summoned by the council to defend himself over his alleged complicity in acts of corruption.
A competent source had confirmed to Vanguard that NJC would consider the responses by some of the accused judges, who the source said were earlier 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 NJC will spend two days looking at those that should be penalised or exonerated.
“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 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.
According to her, “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.”