Two judges, Justice Gladys Olotu of the Abuja Federal High Court and Justice U. A. Inyang of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, have been suspended for gross misconduct after the National Judicial Council forwarded a recommendation for their dismissal to President Goodluck Jonathan.
The President is expected to approve the sacking of the two judicial officers.
A statement from the Acting Director of Information in the NJC, Soji Oye, explained that the council, headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloma Mukhtar, took the decision at a meeting on Wednesday, where the two judicial officers were suspended, pending the approval of their dismissal by the President.
“The National Judicial Council, under the Chairmanship of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloma Mukhtar, at its meeting which was held on February 26, 2014, recommended the compulsory retirement from office of Justice G.K. Olotu of the Federal High Court and Justice U. A. Inyang of High Court of Justice of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, respectively for gross misconduct,” the statement said.
The recommendation for compulsory retirement of the two judges was based on findings made by the NJC after investigations into allegations contained in petitions brought against them.
The NJC found that Justice Olotu “failed to deliver judgment on Suit No. FHC/UY/250/2003, 18 months after the final address by all the counsel in the suit, contrary to the constitutional provisions that judgments should be delivered within a period of 90 days.”
Also, Justice Olotu “admitted before the Fact Finding Committee of the Council that investigated the allegations that she forgot she had a pending ruling to deliver in an application for joinder.”
The NJC equally found that she “entertained a post judgment matter in Suit No. FHC/UY/CS/250/2003 in Port Harcourt, after delivering judgment, which made her functus officio.”
It was also established that “in another case, Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/505/2012, Justice Olotu failed to deliver judgment twice.”
On his part, Justice Inyang was recommended for dismissal after the NJC Fact Finding Committee established that he “included in his judgment, references to the Garnishee Proceedings, which came after the judgment had been delivered on December 20, 2011.”
He “also included the name of the counsel for Federal Road Maintenance Agency, Chief Chukwuma Ekomaru, SAN, who came into the matter after the judgment of December 20, 2011 was delivered.”
The NJC stated that Justice Inyang “recklessly signed a Writ of Execution, a day after delivering his judgment of December 20, 2011, the same day a notice of appeal and motion on notice for stay of execution were filed.”
“The judge continued with the Garnishee Proceedings despite application for stay of execution; and before delivering his judgment of December 20, 2011, Justice Inyang ignored a properly filed motion on notice for leave to file additional witness statement on oath,” the NJC added.
“In the meantime, the National Judicial Council has in the exercise of its disciplinary powers under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, suspended the two judges from office with immediate effect,” the statement said.
Besides recommending the dismissal of the two judges, the NJC at the meeting also issued warning letters to other judicial officers.
The council issued warning letters to Justice Dalhatu Adamu, CFR, the Presiding Justice of Court of Appeal Kaduna Division, Justice A. A. Adeleye of High Court of Justice, Ekiti State and Justice D. O. Amaechina of High Court of Justice, Anambra State, respectively.
Justice Dalhatu Adamu, a former Acting President of the Court of Appeal, during the period the former PCA, Justice Ayo Salami, who was on suspension, received a warning letter “for deliberately absenting himself from duty, which is an act of gross misconduct contrary to the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended and the Code of Conduct of Judicial Officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”