NJC Fires Appeal Court Justice, Enugu CJ

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The National Judicial Council (NJC) has recommended the compulsory retirement and dismissal of Justice Kabiru M. Auta of the High Court of Justice, Kano State with immediate effect, for official misconduct.

Also the careers of the Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Ilorin division, Justice Mohammed Ladan Tsamiya, and the Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice I. A. Umezulike, are hanging on a balance.

The under-fire judges are to proceed on suspension immediately pending the acceptance of the NJC recommendations by President Mohammadu Buhari (in the case of Justice Tsamiya), Enugu Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (in the case of Justice Umezulike) and Kano Governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje (in the case of Justice Auta).

The news was revealed by the acting Director (Information) of NJC, Mr. Soji Oye, in a statement he made on Friday.

According to the statement, Tsamiya abused his office after he accepted bribe in respect of a 2015 election case pending before an appeal panel in which he was a member.

The council indicted Umezulike for conducting himself in a manner that conflicted with his position as a judicial officer, while Auta is said to have collected money from a contractor, and failed on a promise to facilitate the contract awarded to him.

Oye said the decision was reached at the last NJC meeting held on September 29, 2016.

He said: ”Hon. Justice Mohammed Ladan Tsamiya of the Court of Appeal was recommended for compulsory retirement from office to President Muhammadu Buhari, pursuant to the ‘findings’ by the Council in the petition written by Nnamdi Iro Oji against him and Hon. Justices Husseini Muktar, F. O. Akinbami and J. Y. Tukur, all Justices of Court of Appeal who sat on Election Appeal panel in the Owerri division of the court during the 2015 general elections.

The petition contains the following allegations, among others:- Corruption, malice and vindictiveness; and giving perverse and conflicting decisions on the same issue in similar matters in appeal CA/OW/EPT/SN/50/2015: Chief Dr. David Ogba Onuoha Bourdex vs. Hon. Mao Onuabunwa & Anor;CA/OW/EPT/SN/47/2015; Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu & Anor vs Hon. Mao Ohuabunwa & Ors; and CA/OW/EPT/HR/61/2015: Nnamdi Iro Oji Vs Nkole Uko Ndukwe & 16 Ors.

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Appeal Court, NJC

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