*Asks 2 judges to refund salaries for falsifying their dates of birth
By Tobi Soniyi
The National Judicial Council (NJC) has recommended two judges for compulsory retirement with immediate effect.
Pending the time the Lagos State Governor will act on the recommendation, the council has suspended one of them, Gbaja-Biamila, from office with immediate effect in the interim and in exercise of its power under Paragraph 21 Sub-Paragraph (d) of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.
A statement issued by the council and signed by its Acting Director of Information, Mr Soji Oye, gave the names of the judges as Hon. Justice O. Gbaja-Biamila of Lagos State High Court and Hon. Justice Idris M. J. Evuti of the Niger State High Court.
While Gbaja-Biamila was recommended for retirement for refusing to deliver judgment within the time allowed by the constitution, Justice Evuti was compulsorily retired for falsifying his age.
Oye said the council took the decision at its meeting which was held on 13th and 14th April, 2016
The statement said: “Gbaja-Biamila was recommended to the Governor of Lagos State for compulsory retirement from office pursuant to the findings by the council on the allegations contained in the Petitions written against His Lordship by Mr. C. A. Candide Johnson, SAN.
“The allegations are:
That the Hon. Judge delivered judgment in Suit No ID\1279\2007 P. K. Ojo Vs SDV & SCOA Nigeria Plc, twenty months (22), after written addresses were adopted by all the counsel and thirty-five (35) months after the close of evidence in the Suit, contrary to the Constitutional Provisions that judgments should be delivered within a period of 90 days;
“That His Lordship did not publish a copy of judgment he delivered on 24th December, 2013 until after 40 days, contrary to the provision of the constitution which required that a copy of the judgment of a Superior Court of Record be given to prties in the case within seven days of delivery.
That the judge continued to hear the suit in his court after he had been notified of the pendency of a Motion for a Stay Of Execution at the Court of Appeal and that an appeal had been entered.
Prior to the issuance of the first writ of attachment, the Court Registrar under the direct administration of the judge falsely misrepresented to the Deputy Sheriff in a memo dated 28th November, 2014, that there was no appeal or motion in the case file as at 28th November 2014. Meanwhile, there were two Notices of Appeal and two Summons to settle Records in the Court’s file.
“That the judge gave an order on 23rd February, 2015 upon an ex-parte application substituting the name of SDV Nigeria Ltd with Bollore Logistics Nigeria Ltd without serving the order of substitution on the affected party or its legal representatives.
“That the judge failed to maintain professional competence required to preserve the integrity of the Judiciary.”
NJC said that the above allegations constituted misconduct contrary to Section 292 (1) (b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended and Rules 1.3, 3.3, 3.4 and 3.7 of the 2016 Revised Code Of Conduct for Judicial Officers Of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”