NJC constitutes 10-man committee on court sitting
• Recommends Compulsory Retirement Of Justices Abosi, Liman
• Appoints 70 Judicial Officers For Federal, State Judiciaries
The National Judicial Council (NJC) has constituted a 10-man committee to develop strategies that would ensure continuous courts sitting during the lockdown and fight against Covid-19 persists.
The decision was reached at the 91st meeting of the Council under the chairmanship of Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice I. T. Muhammad. Headed by Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, other members of the committee include Justices M. B. Dongban-Mensem; J. T. Tsoho; B. B. Kanyip; Ishaq Bello; Kashim Zannah and O. A. Ojo.
Also members of the committee are three private practising Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs)- President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Paul Usoro, A. B. Mahmoud and D. D. Dodo.
The committee is to, among other terms of reference, initiate guidelines or template for court sitting despite COVID-19 pandemic, explore possible areas of collaboration between the judiciary and the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), stakeholders in the justice sector and decide on any other measures that the committee might deem fit in realising the set objectives.
According to a statement signed by NJC’s Director, Information, Soji Oye, the committee has 14 days to submit its report. Meanwhile, the Council has recommended the compulsory retirement of the Acting President, Customary Court of Appeal, Imo State, Justice Francis Chukwuma Abosi, and Justice Aliyu Musa Liman of Bauchi State High Court with immediate effect.
While Justice Abosi was axed following the falsification of his date of birth from 1950 to 1958, Justice Liman was sanctioned following his failure to deliver judgment in suit No BA/100/2010 between Abubakar Isa and Sheik Tahir Usman Bauchi within the three months period stipulated by law.
According to the statement: “His Lordship’s failure to deliver judgment for nearly four years was considered misconduct, contrary to Section 292 (1) (b) of the 1999 Constitution and Rules 1.3 and 3.7 of the 2016 Revised Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
It added that Justice Abosi was supposed to have retired in November 2015 when he clocked the mandatory retirement age of 65 years. Consequently, the Council urged that the salaries he had earned from November 2015 to date be deducted from his retirement benefit, adding: “Meanwhile, the NJC, in the exercise of its disciplinary powers under the 1999 Constitution, has suspended Justice Abosi and Justice Liman from office, pending the approval of the recommendation of the Council for their compulsory retirement to the their respective state governors.”
Also, petitions against Justice O. A. Musa of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Justices Muhammed A. Sambo and Sa’ad Ibrahim Zadawa of the High Court of Justice, Bauchi State were dismissed for lacking in merit.
The Council also considered the report of its Interview Committee and recommended 70 judicial officers for appointment as President, Court of Appeal; Grand Kadis; President, Customary Court of Appeal and Judges of High Court of states and Kadis of states Sharia Courts of Appeal.
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