Access to Justice hails Justice Akanbi’s removal
A non governmental organisation, Access to Justice (A2J) has applauded the National Judicial Council (NJC) for enforcing the code of conduct for judicial officers against Justice Lambo Akanbi of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt.
NJC’s acting Director of Information, Mr. Soji Oye had on November 18, 2015, announced the approval by President Muhammadu Buhari for the immediate and compulsory retirement of Justice Akanbi of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt Division, following NJC’s recommendation.
According to Mr. Soji, the judge was retired after the NJC found him guilty of having violated the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers.
Part of the allegations against Justice Akanbi, which led to his initial suspension by the NJC and his eventual retirement, includes as follows: that the Justice in two suits before him, unilaterally appointed a referee or valuer not proposed by parties in the cases; that he sat on a case after a new Judge had been transferred to the state without the fiat of the Chief Judge; that he heard and concluded a matter without dealing with the notice of preliminary objection on the jurisdiction of the court; and that the Justice delivered a ruling four months after final addresses were taken.
In a statement endorsed by the group’s Senior Programme Officer, Chinelo Chinweze A2J applauds the NJC for the steps taken to defend the integrity of the judicial process by identifying and taking action against adjudicators who exploit their judicial powers in capricious, illegitimate ways to ridicule and tarnish the judiciary and public confidence in the judicial process.
“Some of the forms of misconduct adjudged against Justice Akanbi – like delivering judgments after a period of 3 months – are fairly routine and commonplace among many Judges in Nigeria and there is no system in place that enables oversight agencies keep incidents of such infractions on their radar. It may be recalled that Justice Glodys Olotu (rtd) was removed for reasons which included delivering judgments in like manner”, it said.
A2J said judicial oversights must deal with those recurring, systematic forms of judicial misconduct and proactively too.
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