The National Judicial Council, NJC, has said that it is currently investigating seven judges from across the country. That was as the apex judicial body yesterday sacked Justice Michael Goji of the High Court of Adamawa State for refusing to proceed on transfer to the Mubi Judicial Division of the State High Court since July 2017.
The council, under the Chairmanship of the Justice Walter Samuel Onnoghen had, at its 86th meeting held in Abuja on Tuesday and Wednesday, recommended the compulsory retirement of Justice Goji to Governor Bindo Umaru Jibrilla of Adamawa State.
The decision of the council was sequel to the advice of the State Judicial Service Commission to Council after its findings on the allegations of misconduct levelled against him. According to a release by the spokesperson of the council, Soji Oye, the Adamawa State Judicial State Commission had conducted an investigation on the conduct of Justice Goji, following the directive of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, after receiving the complaint of his misconduct from the Adamawa State Chief Judge.
Aside from the recommendation for compulsory retirement, Council also directed that he should refund all salaries received by him from July, 2017 till date, failing which the Adamawa State Government is to deduct the amount from any entitlement due to him and remit same to the National Judicial Council, which pays salaries of all Judicial Officers in the Federation.
In the interim, the Council, in exercise of its disciplinary powers under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, has suspended Justice Goji from office pending his removal from office.
Oye further disclosed that the council considered the reports of various Investigation Committees and dismissed petitions written against Justice Paul Adamu Galinje of the Supreme Court, Jusf tice Aminu Sabo Ringim, Chief Judge, Jigawa State, and Justice Peter Umeadi, Chief Judge, Enugu State.
According to him:
“The petition against Justice Paul Adamu Galinje of the Supreme Court was dismissed sequel to its withdrawal by Hon. Yaro Abarshi and Hon. John Yobi Yarafa and others, who alleged that he interfered in a chieftaincy matter in Taraba State.
“The petition against Justice Aminu Sabo Ringim was also dismissed because the Petitioner, Dr Jamil Gwamna, who wrote to Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, Minister of Power and Works, who in turn forwarded same to the National Judicial Council, withdrew the petition.
“The allegation was that the Judge ordered the arrest, assault, and detention of staff of Kano Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO) when they disconnected the electricity at the State High Court and the Judge’s house for non-payment of bills.
“The Committee that investigated the matter found out that the Petitioner could not show or prove that Hon. Mr. Justice Ringim instructed or directed the arrest of KEDCO’s staff. “Council did not find any reason to further investigate Justices Paul Galinje and Aminu Ringim after the withdrawals”.
Oye added that petitions written against 25 Judicial Officers and others by EFCC were also considered by Council after which it resolved to empanel seven committees to look into the allegations. “Petitions against various Judges were dismissed Jusfor lack of establishment of misconduct, being subjudice or that such petitions were matters for appeal.
The dismissed petitions were against Justices A. I. Chikere and J. T Tsoho, Emeka Nwite and Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court, Justice Adetokunbo Banjoko of FCT High Court, Justice Taminu Zailani, Chief Judge, Kaduna, Justice M. A. Adeigbe, High Court, Osun State (who had already retired from the Bench), and Justice E. N. Ogbuiji, High Court, Rivers State.”