The National Judicial Council (NJC) has recommended to President Muhammadu Buhari, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia of the Federal High Court and Justice James T. Agbadu-Fishim of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, for dismissal over the latter’s offences that were unbecoming of judicial officers.
Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia was recommended to President Buhari, for removal by dismissal from office pursuant to the findings by the Council on the allegations of misconduct contained in a petition to the Council by the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr Ibrahim Magu.
Magu had alleged that Justice R. N. Ofili-Ajumogobia is a Director/Chief Executive Officer and sole signatory to Nigel and Colive Company contrary to the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He further alleged that several personalities, individuals, government officials and business partners lodged funds into various accounts belonging to the embattled judge.
The NJC in a statement it issued on Thursday through its Director of Information, Mr. Soji Oye, however, said the council could not consider other allegations in the petition because they are already before a court where the judge is standing trial. Council left those matters for the trial to take its legal course.
On the other hand, Justice James T. Agbadu-Fishim of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria was also recommended for removal by dismissal from office sequel to the findings of the Council on the allegations contained in another petition by Mr. Magu, where he alleged that the judge received various sums of money from litigants and lawyers that had cases before him, and some influential Nigerians, under the false pretence that he was bereaved or that there was delay in the payment of his salary. According to the NJC, the actions of the judges are contrary to the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The NJC in its statement revealed: “In the interim, the Council, in exercise of its disciplinary powers under paragraph 21 (d) of the Third Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, has suspended Hon. Mr. Justices R. N. Ofili-Ajumogobia and James T. Agbadu-Fishim with immediate effect pending their removal from office by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
In a similar development, the Council rejected the letter of voluntary retirement by Justice Joshua E. Ikede of the Delta State High Court, purported to be with effect from the 1st of October 2018, submitted to it.
This followed the findings on an allegation of falsification of age contained in a petition written by Zik Gbemre, National Co-ordinator of Niger Delta Peace Coalition.
“Council found that the Hon. Judge ought to have retired since 1st October 2016. Consequently, it backdated his retirement to 2016 and recommended to the Government of Delta State to deduct from the retirement benefits of the judge, all salaries received by him from October, 2016 till date and remit it to NJC which pays salaries of all Judicial Officers in the Federation.
“Council also decided to issue a Letter of Advice to Hon. Mr. Justice K. C. Nwakpa of High Court of Abia State to guard against unwarranted utterances in matters before him. This was as a result of a complaint to the Council by one Princewill Ukegbu.
“Council considered the reports of various Investigation Committees and dismissed the petitions written against Hon. Mr. Justice Yusuf Halilu of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Hon. Mr. Justice E. O. Osinuga of the High Court of Ogun State, and Hon. Mr. Justice E. O. Ononeze-Madu of the High Court of Imo State.