Ademola’s Retirement Was ‘Compulsory’, Not Voluntary – NJC

Ademola’s Retirement 'Compulsory', Not Voluntarily – NJC
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The National Judicial Council (NJC) has asked Nigerians to ignore the claims that a Federal High Court Judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola, voluntarily retired.

This comes hours after the judge said he has tendered his resignation letter before the Council on Thursday morning, a copy of which was sent to Channels Television.

Although he didn’t give reasons for his retirement, NJC said Justice Ademola’s decision was an afterthought as he had been recommended to retire compulsorily from office for misconduct.

A statement issued by the NJC Director of Information, Mr Soji Oye, said the compulsory retirement was recommended on Wednesday at the Council’s meeting which held in Abuja.

The Council said the decision arose from its findings on the allegation levelled against Justice Ademola in the petition by a group of people.

Read the full statement below:

The National Judicial Council, under the Chairmanship of the Hon. The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Mr Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, GCON, at its 84th Meeting which was held on 6th December 2017, recommended the compulsory retirement from office of Hon. Mr Justice A. F. A. Ademola and Hon. Mr Justice O. O. Tokode both of the Federal High Court for misconduct.

Hon. Mr Justice A. F. A. Ademola who had forwarded his notice of retirement on 10th October 2017 to the Council against 9th April 2018, when he will attain the mandatory retirement age of 65 years was recommended for compulsory retirement from office to President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, pursuant to the findings by the Council on the allegation contained in the petition written against His Lordship by a group of 8 persons under the name of Committee of Anambra State PDP House of Representatives Members-Elect alleging His Lordship of the following:-

  • That His Lordship heard their Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/177/2015 which was adjourned for judgement on 25th Marc 2015;
  • That on the adjourned date, His Lordship did not deliver the judgement but adjourned the case sine die, to await the decision of the Supreme Court on another matter on the same issue, on is the list of PDP candidates for Anambra State for the General Elections of 2015;
  • That His Lordship speedily heard and delivered judgement in another case in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/254/2015 filed later on the same issues, with intent to confer undue advantage on the Plaintiff who is from a family with which the Respondent has relationship;
  • That the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the judgement ultimately given to the petitioners contained a paragraph that was not read in open Court by the Hon. Judge and that a phrase was altered, all to address an issue raised in the appeal that had already been filed by the Petitioner before the issuance of Certified True Copy (C T C);
  • That some of the reasoning and conclusions of the Hon. Judge were summersaults;
  • That the Respondent finally delivered judgement in the case on 8th July 2016, five (5) months after the Supreme Court delivered the judgement he was awaiting contrary to the Constitutional provisions that judgements should be delivered within a period of 90 days.
  • Though the Petitioners withdrew their petitions in accordance with to Regulation 16 of the National Judicial Council Judicial Discipline Regulations of 9th March 2017, Council viewed His Lordship’s action of non-delivery of judgement within the stipulated time as misconduct contrary to Section 292 (1) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended and Rules 1.3 and 3.7 of the 2016 Revised Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The public is hereby informed to disregard news circulating on some news media that Hon. Mr Justice Ademola has voluntarily retired. The purported voluntary retirement is clearly an afterthought as Council had taken action before his decision to forward any voluntary retirement letter.

Hon. Mr Justice O. O. Tokode of the same Federal High Court was also recommended to President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, for compulsory retirement from office with immediate effect sequel to the findings of Council on the allegation contained in petitions forwarded by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and Miss Abimbola Awogboro.

The Petitioners accused the Hon. Judge of misleading the Federal Judicial Service Commission and the National Judicial Council, by submitting six judgements he claimed to have personally conducted while practising as a lawyer; a pre-requisite for his application for appointment as a Judicial Officer, and was so appointed.

The Investigation Committee of Council, however, found that the Hon. Judge personally conducted only one of the six cases submitted. Therefore, Council decided to recommend his compulsory retirement and the refund of all salaries and allowances he earned since his purported appointment to the position of a Judge to the coffers of the Judiciary.

In the interim, the National Judicial Council in exercise of its power under paragraph 21 sub-paragraph (d) of the Third Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, has suspended Hon. Mr Justices A. F. A. Ademola and O. O. Tokode from office with immediate effect.

The Council also issued serious warning letters to Hon. Mr Justice A. N. Ubaka of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria for failure to deliver Ruling in Suit No. NICN/BEN/51/2014 within the time specified by law.

The Council did not accept the reasons given for failure to deliver the Ruling within time.

The Hon. judge has also been placed on watch-list of the Council for the next one year.

Council also gave a warning letter to Hon. Mr Justice Zainab Aliyu Sadat of the High Court of Niger State and placed her on the watch-list for three years for claiming that the Defendant in Suit No: NHSC/MN/46/2016 failed to make available authority cited by them after submission of the argument to her.

Council at the Meeting also decided to dismiss the petition written by Senator Alimodu Sheriff alleging that Hon. Mr Justice A. Liman of the Federal High Court of corruption for his failure to honour the invitation of the Investigation Committee on the three occasions that he sat to investigate the matter.

Council exonerated Hon. Mr Justice Simon Akpah Amogeda of the Federal High Court from corruption allegation by Ernest J. Henry, who could not substantiate his allegation.

The Council decided to write the Petitioner a warning letter for maligning the name of the Hon. Judge.

In addition, Council exonerated Hon. Mr Justice F. I. Kola-Olalere of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria from any misconduct in the petition written against him by Samuel Atotuomah. Hon. Mr Justice B. B. Kanyip of the same Court was also exonerated of allegation of corruption written against him by Adebayo Jegede, Esq, who did not attend the Investigation Committee Panel to defend his allegation.

The Council decided to report him to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) for the unfounded allegation of corruption and the use of crude and insultive language against the Hon. Judge in his petition.

The Petitions written against Hon. Mr Justice Adama Iyayi-Laminkara, Chief Judge, Rivers State, Hon. Mr Justice Maria Sanda Zukogi, Chief Judge, Niger State, Hon. Mr Justice Eyo Effiom Ita, High Court, Cross River State, Hon. Mr Justices S. A. Orugboyo and R. I. B. Adebiyi, High Court, Lagos State, were dismissed by the Council as all the Petitioners withdrew them and Council found no serious issues for further consideration in the allegations.

Hon. Mr. Justice A. M. Lawal of Lagos State High Court was also issued a warning letter and placed on ‘watch-list’ for one year by the Council for unnecessary delay in delivering his Ruling and giving his personal phone number to parties.

The petition written against Hon. Kadi Al-Hafis M. Abubakar of the Katsina State Sharia Court of Appeal by Mr Ibrahim Mukhtar Mashi was dismissed by the Council for lack of merit.

Council also directed Hon. Mr Justice Linda Amina Yarosi of the Customary Court of Appeal to resume duty from her sick leave immediately and placed on ‘watch-list’ for 3 months.

All Judicial Officers placed on ‘watch-list’ of the Council will not be elevated or considered for special assignments during the period they are on the list.

Within that period, Council reserves the right to consider their suitability or otherwise to continue as Judicial Officers based on their performance.

Justice Ademola Withdraws From Dasuki’s Trial

DasukiThe trial judge in the case of former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, Justice Adeniyi Ademola, has withdrawn from the case in the wake of allegations that he obtained bribe from Dasuki who is standing trial before his court.

Justice Ademola was among the seven judges detained briefly about a week ago after the Department of State Services (DSS) conducted searches and said that it discovered hundreds of thousands in dollars in addition to documents linking them to very expensive real estates.

The DSS which conducted what it called “sting operations” accused the judges of exhibiting lifestyles which their income could not justify.

Ademola was scheduled to deliver a ruling on the DSS’s request to allow witnesses to wear masks in the case against Dasuki when the trial judge announced his intention to hands off the case.

Before making his decision known, Justice Ademola interviewed Colonel Sambo Dasuki asking him to tell the whole world if he had known him prior to the case and if he had given him any money directly or through his lawyers to which the former NSA replied in the negative.

He thereafter went ahead to announce that he was transferring the file to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court “for a reassignment to another judge having regards to the allegations against this court by the complainant, that is the DSS.”

Justice Ademola said that his decision to return the file to the Chief Justice for “further directive” is in line with the principles of fair hearing to parties before the court.”

Justice Ademola, at the time of his arrest, was the trial judge in the case against Biafra’s agitator, Nnamdi Kanu who is standing trial for treasonable felony and Colonel Dasuki who is being tried for unlawful possession of firearms and money laundering.

The two cases are being prosecuted by the DSS.