Court Restrains Kogi Gov from Removing Chief Judge

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Yekini Jimoh in Lokoja

A Kogi State High Court of Justice sitting in Koton-karfe, yesterday restrained the state Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, and the state House of Assembly from removing the state Chief Judge, Justice Nasiru Ajanah from office.

The order was obtained by the Chief Judge and the Chief Registrar who approached the court in the wake of the purported plan by the assembly to investigate them and the state judiciary, following a petition to the assembly by the Secretary to the State Government, Folashade Arike Ayoade, against the judiciary purporting an impasse between the executive and judiciary arms of the state.

Ayoade is standing trial before High Court 1, the Chief Judge’s court on charges proffered against her by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC).

The judiciary of the state is also on strike, which was declared on Tuesday by the state’s chapter of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) over accumulated salary arrears of almost six months.

In the ex-parte application filed at the court by Yemi Muhammed, counsel to the two applicants, the plaintiffs sought the court’s urgent intervention through three prayers.

The applicants requested for an interim injunction restraining the defendants from threatening or interfering in the discharge of the duties of the applicants.

The counsel also urged the court to restrain the defendants from taking cognisance of any report emanating from the ad-hoc committee set up by the state assembly on December 11, 2018, pending the determination of the substantive suit.

The learned counsel also asked the court to also expedite action on the matter expeditiously through accelerated hearing.

Hon. Justice Alaba Omolaye-Ajileye, who presided over the case in his ruling, restrained the governor, the State House of Assembly or their agents or privies, from

“acting or threatening to act or interfering in any way detrimental to the interest of the Chief Judge of Kogi State, Hon. Justice Nasir Ajanah, and the Chief Registrar of the High Court of the State, Yahaya Adamu, in their duties as the Chief Judge and Chief Registrar, respectively, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice pending before the court”.

The court also restrained the defendants from “acting on or accepting, debating or taking cognisance, in any way, of the Report of the Ad Hoc Committee set by the House of Assembly to investigate an alleged “impasse” between the Judicial and Executive Arms of the Government of Kogi State”.

Justice Omolaye-Ajileye held that on the strength of the facts contained in the affidavit in support of the motion and the attached documents, he was of the firm view that an urgent intervention of the court was required “to maintain the status quo ante bellum between the parties, lest the claimants/applicants be clogged with a fait accompli.”

He ordered that all the processes of the action be served on all the parties and adjourned the case to December 18.