NJC Recommends Retirement For 2 Judges Over Age Falsification, Failure To Give Judgment
• Orders LPDC To Prosecute 8 Lawyers For Misconducts
The National Judicial Council (NJC) has recommended the immediate compulsory retirement of two judges for engaging in age falsification and withholding judgment.
The NJC, in a statement issued by its spokesman, Soji Oye, identified the affected judicial officers as the Acting President of the Customary Court of Appeal, Imo State, Chukwuma Francis Abosi, and a judge of the Bauchi State High Court, Aliyu Musa Liman.
Abosi was alleged to have altered his date of birth from 1950 to 1958 to beat his actual retirement year of 2015 when he originally attained the mandatory retirement age of 65 years. While Liman, on his part, was said to have failed to deliver judgment in a case numbered: BA/100/210 between Abubakar Isa and Sheik Tahir Usman Bauchi, for almost four years, as against the three-month period prescribed by the Constitution.
The NJC, at its meeting held between April 22 and 23 this year, also constituted a 10-member Committee to work out ways courts could safely conduct proceedings despite the current lockdown and other measures put in place to contain the spread of Corona Virus in the country.
The committee, which has 14 days to conclude its assignment, has Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour of the Supreme Court as chairman.
Also at the meeting, the NJC recommended the appointment of 70 new judges for both federal and state courts as President of Court of Appeal, Grand Kadis, President Customary Court of Appeal and Judges of High Courts of states and the Federal Capital Territory and Kadis of states Sharia Courts of Appeal.
The NJC equally referred eight lawyers to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) for prosecution in relation to allegations of professional misconduct.
On justices Abosi and Liman, the statement said: “Honourable Justice Francis Chukwuma Abosi was recommended for compulsory retirement following the falsification of his date of birth from 1950 to 1958.
“Findings showed that he was supposed to have retired in November, 2015 when he clocked the mandatory retirement age of sixty-five (65) years.
“Council decided to recommend for his compulsory retirement to Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State and to also deduct the salaries he had earned from November, 2015 to date from his retirement benefit.
“Hon. Justice Aliyu Musa Liman was recommended to the Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed for compulsory retirement pursuant to the findings by the Council for his failure to deliver judgement in suit No BA/100/2010, between Abubakar Isa and Sheik Tahir Usman Bauchi within the three months period stipulated by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Council viewed His Lordship’s failure to deliver judgement for nearly four years as misconduct, contrary to Section 292 (1) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended and Rules 1.3 and 3.7 of the 2016 Revised Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Meanwhile, the National Judicial Council, in the exercise of its disciplinary powers under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, has suspended Hon. Justice Francis Chukwuma Abosi and Hon. Justice Aliyu Musa Liman from office pending the approval of the recommendation of the Council for their compulsory retirement to their respective state governors.
“Petitions against the following judicial officers: Hon. Justice O. A. Musa of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Hon. Justices Muhammed A. Sambo and Sa’ad Ibrahim Zadawa of the High Court of Justice, Bauchi State were dismissed for either lacking in merit or being subjudice”.
On the 10-man committee, Oye gave the name of other members to include Justices M. B. Dongban-Mensem (acting President of the Court of Appeal), J. T. Tsoho (Chief Judge, Federal High Court), B. B. Kanyip (President, National Industrial Court of Nigeria), Ishaq Bello (Chief Judge, High Court of the Federal Capital Territory), Kashim Zannah (Chief Judge, Borno State) and O. A. Ojo.
Others are The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Paul Usoro (SAN); his predecessor, Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN) and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Damian Dodo.
Oye added that the committee is tasked with the responsibility of coming up “with urgent practical strategic measures to be put in place in order to ensure that courts continue to function despite the lockdown and COVID-19 challenges.
“The committee, inter-alia, has the following terms of reference:
*To come up with guidelines or template for implementation
*To explore possible areas of collaboration between the Judiciary and the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, stakeholders in the justice administration and development partners in justice administration sector; and
*Any other measures that the committee may deem fit in realising these objectives.”
Oye gave the names of the lawyers referred to the LDPC as Apeiyi Becon Clement; Ifeanyi Egwasi; Nwafor Orizu; Godwin Nkemjika Chukwukwere; Akopde Haggai Ukuku; Chief Emefo Etudo; Osamudiamen Obarogie and B. S. Onuegbu.
He said the allegations against the lawyers range from unruly behavior to walking out of court in the cause of proceedings and submission of false documents to court.
•Additional reports by the Nation newspaper