No Transfer Of Judicial Powers To Governors, Viral Letter Fake — NJC

Olukayode Ariwoola

The National Judicial Council (NJC), has dismissed a viral letter alleging that it had transfered statutory powers and functions regarding appointments and promotions of judges to state governors.

Soji Oye, Director of Information at NJC, said the letter dated July 14, 2023, and allegedly signed by Olukayode Ariwoola, Chief Justice of Nigeria and NJC chairman, has “no iota of truth.”

The NJC said the letter which stated that Umar Abubakar should be appointed the substantive Chief Judge of Kebbi, outlining several key points regarding the order of seniority, never emanated from the council.

“The fake letter titled ‘Order of Seniority of Judges of the High Court of Kebbi state and recommendation of Justice Umar Abubakar as the substantive chief judge of Kebbi state’, addressed to the chief judge, stating that ‘under section 10 of the existing law of Kebbi state 1996, His Excellency, the governor, has the power to determine seniority of judges and the NJC has no power to override or reverse the decision of His Excellency.

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“It further stated that the office of the head of court/chief judge is purely a political appointment to be decided by the governor of a state.

“For the purpose of clarification and avoidance of doubt, the NJC hereby emphatically disclaimed the letter as there is no iota of truth in it, and no such letter ever emanated from the office of the chief justice of Nigeria or the Council.

“The public is hereby advised to discountenance the letter and its content,” the statement read.

Oye added that the council has reported the “unfortunate case” to the relevant security agencies to investigate and bring to book whoever is behind the letter.