The National Judicial Council (NJC) on Thursday recommended to President Goodluck Jonathan the compulsory retirement of Justice Charles Archibong of the Federal High court Lagos and Justice Thomas Naron of the High Court of Justice Plateau State.
The decision was reached at a meeting that dragged till late on Wednesday. The meeting which was held at the Supreme Court Complex, Abuja was presided over by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mariam Alooma Mukhtar and it was recommended that the justices should retire on ethical grounds.
Justice Archibong was recommended for compulsory retirement pursuant to the ‘findings” by the council on the following complaints levelled against him:
• that the judge dismissed the grievous charges against an accused without taking his plea;
• that he refused to release the certified true copy of his ruling to the lawyers;
• that the judge issued a bench warrant on some officials of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for contempt even when the counsel who was directed by the court to serve them filed an affidavit that he had not been able to serve the contempt application;
• that he made unfounded and caustic remarks on professional competence of some Senior Advocates of Nigeria;
• that there were glaring procedural irregularities which showed that he did not have a full grasp of the law and procedure of the court; and
• that he granted the leave sought for in the originating summons that had no written address of the parties and without hearing both parties in the originating summons after he had earlier overruled the preliminary objection.
On the other hand, Justice Naron of High Court of Justice, Plateau State was recommended for compulsory retirement to Governor David Jonah Jang sequel to the ‘findings’ by the council that there were constant and regular voice calls and exchange of multimedia messages and text messages between him and one of the lead counsel for one of the parties to the suit in the Osun state governorship election tribunal contrary to the code of conduct for judicial officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria section 292(1((b) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
Pending when the recommendation is enforce the NJC 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 council also set up a ‘fact finding’ committee to investigate the allegations levelled against Justice Abubakar Talba of a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in the police pension case between the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and John Yusuf and other.
Justice Talba recently sentenced Mr Yusuf who pleaded guilty to embezzling billions of pension funds to 2 years imprisonment with an option of N 250,000 fine for each of the 3 counts against him.