WATCH NIGERIA NETWORK: Untimely Retirement of Judges: Hidden Facts
Posted: 28/Sep/2014

When we wrote on victimization and vendetta in the Nigeria judiciary, and made reference to some justices who were untimely and compulsorily retired by the Nigeria Judicial council (NJC) we promised that in our subsequent publication we will beam our search light on the mysteries surrounding the hasty retirements.

It is in this light that we put up this particular piece to awaken the reasoning of the public on the hidden facts concealed in the investigations and subsequent untimely retirement of some judges by the NJC

The NJC as you may have known is the sole and final arbitr in matters concerning discipline of judges, this means that they have absolute powers over judicial careers, with such powers, it behooves on the members of the NJC to see and infact regard this consitutional responsiblity as sacred, most especially when discharging this all important mandate.

This is so because, the discharge of these duties can either make or mar the career of fellow judges if not thoroughly, carefully and sincerley executed without fear, favour or eye service consideration.

The NJC has at the top of the pyramid the chief justice of Nigeria who in law and fact, through a firm hold on the compositon of involved membership of council sets the tone for disciplinary policy and method. It does appear that the current holder of that office, in a bid to polish her legacy is treating the dignity, reputation and careers of chosen judges as dispensed shell of ammunition, easily disposed of a case of power corrupting absolutely.

In every known case were power corrupt, several individuals are bound to be victims. The cases of justices salami, okeke olutu, archibong amongst others are indeed good examples.

The case of justice archibong is perhaps funny and contradictory because in a span of one year he was recommended for elevation by the CJN, and within the same year for compulsory retirement without, according to him, the right to appear before a panel of the NJC to confront his supposed petitioners and respond in person to any allegation. The magic that took place left the judge shocked and surprised which eventually led him to say "I demand as of right all my service records, judicial activity on my part including all petitions against me that resulted in NJC action , clearances, warnings and commendation to boot.

I demand also and particulary a certified record of the proceedings of the NJC that resulted in its recommedation to the president that i be compulsorily retired. I am currently a poster child for judicial corruption in the media, and that is the upshot of how my retirement was handled by the NJC. It will comopund the ongoing breach of its duty of care to my humble self if it fails to produce and forward to me ALL the records i now demand" the response of the NJC to this noble request is perhaps still pending while the judge languishes in the pangs of untimely retirement. 

The case of Justice Okeke who had luckily tendered his resignation due to attaining the constitutional retirement age before his clash iwth the powers that be in the NJC, that resulted in his being SERIOUSLY WARNED is another case of power corrupting absolutely. While serving as a judge he was in contention with the daughter of justice clara ogunbiyi over a case he handled and delivered judgement that was not favourable to the daughter of the supreme courth judeg, which let hell loose and eventually led to his SERIOUS WARNING.

In the case of Judstice Olotu, the only female among the judges that we have mentioned so far, we observed that at least two panels was set up by the NJC chairman to treat, investigate or hear the petitions against her the most interesting one is the panel that was headed by Hon Justice Olopade (who has surprisingly been nominated for national honours award by the president)

A careful look at the olopade's panel report which recommended the retirement of justice olotu shows that some aspects of the report may have been doctored because the panel actually sat for three days ie 10th, 11th and 18th February 2014, but the report had no record of proceedings for the 11th February 2014. The report claims that petitions of two petitioners' was heard on the 10th of February 2014, when indeed it was heard on the 11th February 2014. With this act, the report failed to consider the totality of the response of justice Olotu to the allegations of the petitioners, this was a delierate act to show olotu the way out of the system or an act of forgetfulness on the part of justice olopade.

We also see that in the same report justice olopade elevated forgetfulness to the level of misconduct when she recommended that olotu be sanctioned for forgetting to deliver a ruling.

We wish to note that as humans, judges are not above error and forgetfulness, we believe that one important, legitimate requirement of a judge is that he/she must be honest and discharge his/her duties to the best of his/her abilities without fear, favour or eye service as may be noticed in the way petitions against some of the judges are handled.

If the Olopade's report can contain these discrepancies stated above we call on the federal government to take a critical look again at her nomination prior to the award, and do the expedient. 

The rule of law cannot be upheld across the country, while matters concerning the discipline of judges are conducted in secret conclaves at the bidding of an undisclosed protagonisht. In the last case that we made mention of its is clear that the vicitm (Diotu) is a woman and so is olopade and the CJN, this fact has captured our interest and has ignited a flame that prompts us to take an indepth look at the olotu issue because it has always been said that women are the enemies of themselves, and in order to affirm or dispute this claim we are poised to give the olotu issue and indepth look in our subsequent publication
Comrade Sani Yusuf (CHAIRMAN)
Adekey A (Secretary)

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