The National Judicial Council (NJC) has recommended the dismissal of two judges.
The judges are R. N. Ofili-Ajumogobia of the federal high court and James T. Agbadu-Fishim of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria.
The decision of the council was contained in a statement issued by Soji Oye, its spokesman, on Thursday.
Oye said both judges had petitions against them from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged malpractice.
“The National Judicial Council under the chairmanship of the Honourable Mr. Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, GCON, at its 87th meeting which was held on 3rd October 2018, recommended the removal by dismissal from office, of Hon. Mr. Justice R. N. Ofili-Ajumogobia of the federal high court and Hon. Mr. Justice James T. Agbadu-Fishim of the national industrial court of Nigeria,” the statement read.
“Hon. Mr. Justice R. N. Ofili-Ajumogobia was recommended to President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, for removal by dismissal from office pursuant to the findings by the council on the allegations of misconduct contained in a petition to the Council by the Acting Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr Ibrahim Magu, alleging that: Hon. Mr. Justice R. N. Ofili-Ajumogobia is a Director/Chief Executive Officer and sole signatory to Nigel and Colive Company contrary to the code of conduct for judicial officers of the federal republic of Nigeria;
“Several personalities, individuals, government officials and business partners lodged funds into various accounts belonging to the Hon. Judge; and there was an ex-parte communication between the Hon. Judge and Mr. Godwin Oblah, SAN, during the pendency of his matter before the his lordship.
“The council, however, could not consider other allegations in the petition because they are already before a court where the judge is standing trial. Council left those matters for the trial to take its legal course.
“Hon. Mr. Justice James T. Agbadu-Fishim of the national industrial court of Nigeria was also recommended for removal by dismissal from office sequel to the findings of the Council on the allegations contained in another petition by the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alleging that the Hon. Judge received various sums of money from litigants and lawyers that had cases before him, and some influential Nigerians, under the false pretence that he was bereaved or that there was delay in the payment of his salary. This is contrary to the code of conduct for judicial officers of the federal republic of Nigeria.
“In the interim, the council, in exercise of its disciplinary powers under paragraph 21 (d) of the Third Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, has suspended Hon. Mr. Justices R. N. Ofili-Ajumogobia and James T. Agbadu-Fishim with immediate effect pending their removal from office by the president of the federal republic of Nigeria.”
“This followed the findings on an allegation of falsification of age contained in a petition written by Zik Gbemre, National Co-ordinator of Niger Delta Peace Coalition. Council found that the Hon. Judge ought to have retired since 1st October 2016,” the statement read.
“Consequently, it backdated his retirement to 2016 and recommended to the government of Delta state to deduct from the retirement benefits of the judge, all salaries received by him from October, 2016 till date and remit it to NJC which pays salaries of all judicial officers in the federation.
“Council also decided to issue a Letter of Advice to Hon. Mr. Justice K. C. Nwakpa of high court of Abia state to guard against unwarranted utterances in matters before him. This was as a result of a complaint to the council by one Princewill Ukegbu.
“Council considered the reports of various Investigation Committees and dismissed the petitions written against Hon. Mr. Justice Yusuf Halilu of the high court of the Federal Capital Territory, Hon. Mr. Justice E. O. Osinuga of the High Court of Ogun state, and Hon. Mr. Justice E. O. Ononeze-Madu of the High Court of Imo State.
“The petition by Wema Bank against Hon. Mr. JusticeYusuf Halilu of the FCT high court was dismissed because the allegation of misconduct was not established. The judges handling of the related matter did not amount to the alleged misconduct. The petition on allegation of inducement, bias and alteration of Ruling written by David Olawepo Efunwape, Esq. against Hon. Mr. Justice E. O. Osinuga of high court, Ogun state was found to be false.
“Council, therefore, decided to report David Olawepo Efunwape, Esq., to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) for appropriate sanctions for making false allegations against a judge.”
Oye added that petitions were dismissed against some judges including Abdul-Kafarati, chief judge of the federal high court.