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Only NJC recommendation can remove CJ, court tells Bello, Kogi assembly


Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

A Kogi High Court sitting in Koton-Karfe has ruled that the executive and legislature could not remove the state Chief Judge, Justice Nasir Ajanah, without recourse to the National Judicial Council (NJC).

It also declared that Chief Registrar of the state High Court held a statutory position as the judiciary’s accounting officer and therefore, not subject to the control and supervision of either the executive or House of Assembly.

The presiding judge, Justice Alaba Omolaye-Ajileye, made the declaration in his judgement on the suit brought against the Assembly, Governor Yahaya Bello and three others by Justice Ajanah and Chief Registrar, Yahaya Adamu.


Omolaye-Ajileye, who granted all the reliefs and declarations sought by the claimants in the suit said, “On the whole, I find merit in this action and it succeeds. All the declarations sought are allowed.

“By item 21 of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution (as Amended), the National Judicial Council (NJC) is the body empowered to exercise disciplinary control over all judicial officers of Nigeria.

“It is also stipulates that the NJC, established under Section 153 (i) of the constitution (as amended), has the power to recommend the removal of a judicial officer to the governor.”

It was gathered that the judicial officers had approached the court to challenge the powers of the defendants to remove the CJ and punish the Chief Registrar for refusal to be investigated by the House of Assembly.

The suit marked: HC/KK/11CV/2018 brought by the CJ and the Chief Registrar had as respondents, Kogi State House of Assembly; Speaker, Bello Hassan Abdullahi, Chairman Ad-Hoc Committee; the Governor and Attorney General of Kogi State.

The claimants in their originating summons sought the determination whether the defendants had power to remove the Chief Judge as a “Judicial Officer” within the provisions of sections 292 and 318 of the 1999 Constitution.

They also sought to know whether the House of Assembly or its committee was vested with the power to invite Ajanah for investigation, among others.

But Omolaye-Ajileye said the facts of the matter according to the affidavit supporting the originating summons deposed to by Shaibu Yakubu, revealed that the impasse was ignited by a memorandum between heads of the executive and judiciary.

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