The National Judicial Council has sacked two judges, Justice Mohammed Yunusa of the Federal High Court, Lagos Division, and Justice Olamide Oloyede of the High Court of Justice, Osun State, for alleged misconduct.
The two judges were suspended from office on July 15 during a meeting of the Council, led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed and recommended for compulsory retirement to President Muhammadu Buhari following allegations of abuse of office.
A statement from the NJC signed by its Director of communications, Soji Oye, said Mr. Yunusa was sacked for issuing illegal court orders restraining the office of the Attorney General of the Federation, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, from carrying out investigation into alleged financial misappropriation by public officers, including Senator Stella Oduah.
The statement said the council made the decision after investigating a petition by the Civil Society Network Against Corruption which informed it (the council) about the alleged abuse of office by Mr. Yunusa during his decision in cases involving Mrs. Oduah; Nigeria’s telecom mogul, Mike Adenuga; Executive Secretary of Nigerian Health Insurance Scheme, Martins Thomas; and three others — Jide Adelakun, Shamsudeen Abogu and John Adonimere.
According to the NJC, its findings revealed that Mr, Yunusa acted against rule 3 (1) of the Code of Conduct for official Judicial Officers when he claimed ignorance of the provisions of the Money Laundering Act by stopping the EFCC from carrying out investigation into alleged cases of financial misappropriation.
“That Hon. Justice Yunusa’s decision restraining the anti-graft agencies from carrying out their statutory functions in the first six cases mentioned earlier is contrary to the Judgement of the Court of Appeal in A.G Anambra State Vs. UBA which His Lordship quoted but did not apply in his rulings,” the statement said.
The council’s decision for Mrs. Oloyede to retire is based on its findings that she failed to uphold the dignity of her office.
“The Hon. Judge failed to conduct herself in such a manner as to preserve the dignity of her office and impartiality and independence of the Judiciary when she wrote a petition against the Osun State governor and his deputy to the members of the State House of Assembly and circulated same to 36 persons and organizations.
“The Petition was said to contain political statements, unsubstantiated allegations and accusations aimed at deriding, demeaning and undermining the Government of Osun State, the person and character of the Governor (as one who is cruel, a liar and a traitor), his deputy and aides.
“The petition contained statements calculated to incite the residents of Osun State against the State Government and its elected Officers. Hon. Justice Oloyede crossed the fundamental right of freedom of speech and created a negative perception of the Nigerian Judiciary to the Public,” the Council stated.
The allegations are contrary to Section 292 (1) (b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended and Rules 1 (1) and Rule 5 of the 2016 Revised Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The council said its decision to punish the judges was based on its powers, as enshrined by the 1999 constitution.