NJC Sacks One Judge, Investigates 25 Others Petitioned by EFCC

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• Appoints 21 new ones for the bench

Tobi Soniyi in Lagos

The National Judicial Council (NJC) has recommended Justice Michael Goji of the High Court of Adamawa State for compulsory retirement.

The decision was contained in a statement issued thursday by the council’s Director of Information, Mr Soji Oye.

The judge was sent packing after he refused to proceed on transfer to the Mubi Judicial Division of the state High Court since July 2017.

The council also ordered the judge to refund all salaries received by him from July 2017 till date, failing which the Adamawa State Government is to deduct the amount from any entitlement due to him and remit same to the NJC.

In the interim, the council, in exercise of its disciplinary powers under the constitution, has suspended Justice Goji from office pending his removal from office.

Justice Goji was recommended for compulsory retirement to Governor Bindo Umaru Jibrilla of Adamawa State sequel to the advice of the state Judicial Service Commission after its findings on the allegations of misconduct levelled against him.

The state Judicial Commission had conducted an investigation on the conduct of Justice Goji following the directive of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN)after receiving the complaint of his misconduct from the Adamawa State Chief Judge.

The council also considered petitions written against 25 judges by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and decided to set up seven committees to investigate the petitions.
NJC said it considered the reports of its various committees and dismissed petitions written against them.

Those affected are Justice Paul Adamu Galinje of the Supreme Court, Justice Aminu Sabo Ringim, Chief Judge of Jigawa State, and Justice Peter Umeadi, Chief Judge of Enugu State.

The council said: ”The petition against Justice Galinje of the Supreme Court was dismissed sequel to its withdrawal by Hon. Yaro Abarshi and Hon. John Yobi Yarafa and others who alleged that he interfered in a chieftaincy matter in Taraba State.

“The petition against Justice Ringim was also dismissed because the petitioner, Dr Jamil Gwamna, who wrote to Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, Minister of Power and Works who in turn forwarded same to the NJC, withdrew the petition.

“The allegation was that the judge ordered the arrest, assault, and detention of a staff of the Kano Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO) when they disconnected the electricity at the state High Court and the judge’s house for non-payment of bills.

“The committee that investigated the matter found that the petitioner could not prove that Justice Ringim instructed or directed the arrest of KEDCO’s staff.”

NJC said it did not find any reason to further investigate Justices Galinje and Ringim after the withdrawals.

The petitions against some high court judges were also dismissed for lack of establishment of misconduct, being subjudice or that such petitions were matters for appeal.

The dismissed petitions were against Justices A. I. Chikere and J. T Tsoho, Emeka Nwite and Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court, Justice Adetokunbo Banjoko of FCT High Court, Justice Taminu Zailani, Chief Judge, Kaduna, Justice M. A. Adeigbe, High Court, Osun State (who had already retired from the Bench), and Justice E. N. Ogbuiji, High Court, Rivers State.

The council has also queried 16 judges found to have performed below expectation by the Performance Evaluation Committee of Judicial Officers of Superior Courts of Record in the Federation.

The council has invited the judges to come and explain their low performance in the last two to four quarters in 2017.

Also yesterday, the NJC recommended 21 judges for appointment as Chief Judges, Grand Kadi, High Court Judges, Sharia Court Kadis, President, Customary Court of Appeal, and one member for the Code of Conduct Tribunal.