NJC recommends dismissal, retirement of Justices
• Dismissed Judge To Be Handed Over To Police For Prosecution
The National Judicial Council (NJC) has recommended the dismissal from service of Justice Kabiru M. Auta of the High Court of Kano State, the compulsory retirement from office of Justice Mohammed Ladan Tsamiya, Presiding Justice, Court of Appeal, Ilorin Division and Justice I. A. Umezulike, Chief Judge of Enugu State, with immediate effect.
In the case of Justice Auta, he would be handed over to the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone 1, Kano for prosecution.
The NJC, under the chairmanship of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mahmud Mohammed, at its 78th meeting held on September 29 this year, held that Justice Tsamiya 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 Justices Husseini Muktar, F. O. Akinbami and J. Y. Tukur, all Justices of the Court of Appeal, who sat on Election Appeal Panel in the Owerri Division over last year’s general elections.
The NJC during deliberations found out that “there was evidence that the Petitioner met with Justice Tsamiya thrice, in his residence in Sokoto, Gwarinpa in Abuja and Owerri, where on each occasion, he demanded from him the sum of N200million (Two hundred million naira) to influence the Panel in Owerri or risk losing the case.”
Justice Umezulike was recommended to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for compulsory retirement, sequel to the findings by the Council on the allegations levelled against him by Mr. Peter Eze, a lawyer.
The Council said: “That at the time of the book launch of the Chief Judge, donation of N10 million was made by Prince Arthur Eze during the pendency of the two cases in His Lordship’s Court, both of which Eze has vested interest.”
In the case of Justice Auta, he was recommended to Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje for dismissal and be handed over to the Police for prosecution, following the findings of the Council on the allegations levelled against him by Alhaji Kabiru Yakassai.
It read: “That the Petitioner paid the sum of N125million (One hundred and twenty-five million naira) into an account approved by the Judge.
“That after the Petitioner suspected foul play and reported the matter to the Police, Justice Auta agreed to pay the Petitioner the sum of N95million (ninety-five million naira) as part of his claim, while Abubakar Mahdi was to pay the sum of N125million (One hundred and twenty-five million naira) to the Petitioner.”
“Meanwhile, the NJC, in the exercise of its disciplinary powers under the 1999 Constitution (as amended), has suspended Justices Tsamiya, Umezulike and Auta from office with immediate effect, pending the approval of the recommendations of the Council for their compulsory retirement and dismissal, respectively from office by Buhari, Ugwuanyi and Ganduje.