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DSS action on judges aimed at denigration of judiciary – NJC

Mahmud Mohammed

Mahmud Mohammed

The National Judicial Council (NJC) has said the action of the Department State Service (DSS) against the seven serving federal judges was a denigration of the entire judiciary as an institution.

A statement signed by the Acting Director of Information of the Council, Mr Soji Oye, made this known to newsmen in Abuja on Thursday night.

The Council said that by the act of the DSS, judicial officers were now being exposed to insecurity, adding that criminals might take advantage of the recent incidents to invade their homes under the guise of being security agents.

“The Council vehemently denounces a situation whereby the psyche of judicial officers in the federation is subjected to a level where they will be afraid to discharge their constitutional judicial functions.

“The Council will not compromise the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. The Council wishes, therefore, to reassure the public that any person who has a genuine complaint against any judicial officer is at liberty to bring it up to the Council for consideration,” he said.

Oye said further said the Council had never shielded any judicial officers suspected to have breached the code of conduct guiding the profession or other important law of the land.

He said that the Council insisted that the DSS must be restricted within its primarily concern with the internal security of the country.

In another development, Oye said the Council recommended Justice Sylvester Onnoghen to President Muhammadu Buhari for appointment as the next Chief Justice of Nigeria.

By the recommendation, Onnoghen is expected to succeed the outgoing CJN, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, who retires on Nov. 10

Onnoghen was born on Dec. 22, 1950, at Okurike Town, Biase Local .Government Area of Cross River.

He obtained the Bachelor of Law degree at the University of Legon, Ghana, in 1977 and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1978.

The Chief Justice of Nigeria designate was pupil state counsel, Ministry of Justice, Ikeja, Lagos, and Ogun between 1978 and 1979.

He was partner in the Law Firm of Effiom Ekong & Company, Calabar, 1979 to 1988 and Principal Partner/Head of Chamber of Walter Onneghen & Associates, Calabar 1988 to 1989

Onnoghen was appointed High Court Judge, Cross River Judiciary, 1989 and Chairman, Cross River Armed Robbery and Firearms Tribunal, 1990 to 1993.

He was also Chairman, Judicial Enquiry into the Crisis between Student of the University of Calabar and Obufa Esuk Orok Community, Calabar in 1996 and chaired the Failed Bank Tribunal, Ibadan Zone, 1998, before his elevation to the Court of Appeal in 1998 to 2005.

Onnoghen, a Fellow, Chattered Institute of Arbitrators and a member of the Body of Bencher and Life Bencher was elevated to the Supreme Court of Nigeria in 2005.

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