Sanwo-Olu Swears In Eight Judges

A cross section of the eight judges sworn in by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on May 12, 2020.
A cross-section of the eight judges sworn in by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on May 12, 2020.

 

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Tuesday said he swore in eight new judges to strengthen the state’s High Court.

The Judges had been confirmed by the National Judicial Council.

Governor Sanwo-Olu, in a tweet via his official handle, said the eight judges will help to “deepen the dispensation of justice in our state.”

 

According to the Governor, the Judges include: Hon. Justice Dorcas Taiwo Olatokun, Hon. Justice Yhaqub Gbadebo Oshoala, Hon. Justice Omotola Ibironke Oguntade, Hon. Justice Olufunke Sule-Amzat, Hon. Justice Dr. Rasul Oriyomi Olukolu.

Others are: Hon. Justice Sharafa Abioye Olaitan, Hon. Justice Ezekiel Oluwole Ashade and Hon. Justice Adeniyi Funsho Pokanu.

“It is my fervent hope that our new Judges will work to make our Judiciary remain a true beacon of hope for the common man,” Sanwo-Olu said.

Fashola Swears-In Three New Judges

Governor-FasholaLagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola today sworn in three new judges into the state judiciary.

The three judges are Justice Obafemi Abdul Afis Adamson, Justice Adedayo Adeola Akintoye and Justice Olabisi Ogungbesan.

Before their new appointment, Justice Ogungbesan and Adamson were senior official of the Lagos State Ministry of Justice while Justice Adeola was a serving magistrate in the state judiciary.

The three new judges brings to 57, the number of judges in the state. While 41 of the judges are female, 16 are men.

Speaking at the ocassion, Fashola said he is confident that the new judges would dispense justice with utmost fairness and dedication.

He urged the judges to develop themselves as changing world trends are are currently redefining the way justice is been administered.

“Your quest for knowledge must be unending. The world is changing and new trends are defining how justice is dispensed across the world. You must kept yourselves updated with these trend” he charged the judges.

Fashola also assured the judges that the state government remains commitment to the welfare of the judiciary.

He said that new courtrooms located at Epe and Badagry would soon be commissioned by the state government.

In her address, Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Olajumoke Atilade urged the new judges to live above board and conduct themselves according to the code of conduct of judicial officers.

Justice Atilade noted that the new judges with their wealth of experience would help to ease the work load on other judges occasioned by rising population of Lagos and crave for justice.

She urged the judges to be morally upright in dispensing justice in the state judiciary.

Earlier while presenting the judges, the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Ade Ipaye noted that the State Judicial Service Commission, serving judges, members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and all others have scrutinized the new judges designate and unanimously found them worthy before presenting them to the National Judicial Council (NJC).

Ipaye added that the NJC had in turn examined the candidates’ qualifications, Competence, experience and integrity before approving their appointment.

He added that the appointment of the new judges was necessitated by the increasing quest of Lagos residents for justice and the need to moderate the workload of individual judges.

NJC Suspends Rivers State Chief Judge

njcThe National Judicial Council (NJC) has suspended the Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice P. N. C. Agumagu with immediate effect.

A statement signed by the Acting Director of Information of the Council, Mr Soji Oye, says the council took the decision at an emergency meeting on Wednesday.

The statement explained that Justice Agumagu’s appointment as the Chief Judge of Rivers State was illegal, as it did not comply with the provisions of Section 271 of the 1999 Constitution, which stipulated that a state governor must appoint a chief judge on the recommendation of the NJC.

Apart from the suspension, Justice Agumagu has also been queried and asked to explain in writing within four days, why he should not be removed from office as a judicial officer for his failure to abide by his oath of office to uphold the constitution and laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The statement adds that the National Judicial Council did not at any time make any recommendation to the governor of Rivers State that  Justice P. N. C. Agumagu, President, Customary Court of Appeal, be appointed the substantive Chief Judge of Rivers State and will therefore not recognise him as the Chief Judge of Rivers State.

The statement reads, “At its 10th emergency meeting, which was held on the 26th March, 2014, the National Judicial Council under the chairmanship of Hon. Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Aloma Mariam Muktar, considered the purported appointment, confirmation and swearing-in of Hon. Justice P. N. C. Agumagu as the substantive Chief Judge of Rivers State on the 18th day of March, 2014.

“In the course of deliberations on the matter, Council noted that it is expressly provided in Section 271 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) that the appointment of a person to the Office of the Chief Judge of a State shall be made by the Governor of the State on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council, subject to the confirmation of the appointment by the House of Assembly of the State.

“The National Judicial Council did not at any time make any recommendation to the Governor of Rivers State that Hon. Justice P. N. C. Agumagu, President, Customary Court of Appeal, be appointed the substantive Chief Judge of Rivers State.

“Council therefore resolved as follows:

“That the National Judicial Council does not and will not recognise Hon. Justice P.N.C. Agumagu as the Chief Judge of Rivers State.

“That the general public and all concerned in the matter, particularly the Governor of Rivers State, the Rivers State House of Assembly, the Judiciary in Rivers State, be notified and informed that the National Judicial Council will not deal with Hon. Justice P.N.C. Agumagu as the Chief Judge of Rivers State.

“That a query be issued to Hon. Justice P. N. C. Agumagu to explain in writing within four days, why he should not be removed from office as a judicial officer for his failure to abide by his Oath of Office to uphold the Constitution and Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“In the meantime, Council in exercise of its powers under paragraph 21 (d) of Part 1 of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution, has suspended Hon. Justice P. N. C. Agumagu from Office as a judicial officer with immediate effect.”

Jonathan Nominates Zainab Bulkachawa As Court of Appeal President

bukalchawaPresident Goodluck Jonathan has nominated Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa as President of the Court of Appeal, pending the confirmation of the senate.

In a letter sent to the Senate and read by Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, President Jonathan requested the Senate to approve the appointment in conformity with Section 238 Sub-section 1 of the 1999 constitution.

Her nomination follows the recommendation of the National Judicial Council (NJC) and must be confirmed by the Senate before the judge can be sworn-in.

Mrs Bulkachuwa was born in March 1950 and represents Gombe State at the Appeal Court. She was called to the Bar in 1976, and elevated to the Appeal Court in 1998.

Before then, she served as a judge in the High Court of Bauchi State and was at a time the Chief Judge of Gombe State.

High profile cases handled by Justice Bukalchawa include the Sokoto State governorship election petition of 2007 and the case instituted by former Governor Timipre Sylva last year to challenge the nomination of Seriake Dickson as the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate.

Prior to her appointment as President, she was the Presiding Judge of the Abuja division of the court.

She is due to retire in 2020, the court says.

 

 

NBA President Blames Unlawful Arrests For Congestion Of Prisons

The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr Okey Wali, has absolved lawyers from the high number of awaiting trial suspects in Nigerian prisons but rather put the blame on several factors which include arbitrary arrest of innocent citizens by police among others.

Mr Wali, while speaking with Channels TV in Ilorin, noted that judges should not grant the request of lawyers who seek for unnecessary adjournment in order to reduce prison congestion while also lamented lack of vehicles by prison warders to convey suspects to courts among other factors responsible for high number of awaiting trial suspects in prisons.

Commenting on the letter written to the presidency to reinstate the retired President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami by the National Judicial Council (NJC) but which was not implemented; the NBA president absolves the president of any blame citing several court cases pending then as stumbling block in order not to incur the wrath of the courts.

On the issue of the one representative allotted to the bar for the national conference, the president insisted that the bar will not accept until the slot is increased wondering how others could be given higher slots.

Court Strikes Out Case Seeking Salami’s Reinstatement

A case filed by a group of seven lawyers seeking an order of the court to compel the National Judicial Council (NJC)to reinstate suspended president of the appeal court Justice Ayo Salami has suffered defeat at the Federal High Court Abuja.

In his ruling on  the preliminary objection filed  by the Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke and President GoodLuck Jonathan, Justice Adamu Bello  held that the group has not shown any locus standi since they have not been able to prove to the court how the suspension of Justice Salami is injurious to them.

He further held that based on the lack of locus, the court also lack jurisdiction to hear the suit.

The legal practitioners sought an order of the court to compel the NJC to implement the recommendation of its three man-committee headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mariam Aloma-Muktar  that the suspended president of the Appeal Court, Justice Ayo Salami be reinstated.

The group also asked the court  to declare  that in line with  the provisions of section 153 of the 1999 constitution President Good Luck Jonathan cannot exercise disciplinary powers over court of appeal justices and in particular Justice Ayo Salami.

Counsel to the plaintiffs however said the group will study the judgment before deciding on the next cause of action.

Jonathan Approves Justice Archibong’s Retirement

President Goodluck Jonathan has approved the immediate retirement of Justice Charles Archibong, following the recommendation of the National Judicial Council (NJC).

The NJC on Thursday February 21st, recommended to President Goodluck Jonathan the compulsory retirement of Justice Archibong of the Federal High court Lagos and Justice Thomas Naron of the High Court of Justice Plateau State.

Speaking to state house correspondents, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke said that the fight against corruption can only get a firm root when the entire judicial system is cleansed.

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.

 

Lagos-based Lawyer Calls For Disbandment Of NJC

A Lagos-based lawyer, Mr. Suraj Olarenwaju has called for the overhaul or disbandment of the National Judicial Council (NJC) stating that it is irrelevant in reforming the judicial system in Nigeria.
“We can’t see the relevance of that body… in reforming the judicial system in Nigeria,” said Mr. Olarenwaju on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily on Wednesday.
While sharing his views on the topic, Justice Delivery System In Nigeria, he described his initial reaction to the court ruling on the case involving former Assistant Director Police Pension Office, Yakubu John, as “unfortunate and ridiculous.”
He described the Judge’s ruling as a mere “judgement” as opposed to “justice” which should have been meted out.
Mr. Olarenwaju, who confirmed the 2-year imprisonment ruling as what the constitution states, questioned the N750,000 fine option saying that the law couldn’t have specified an amount of fine because it would not anticipate the amount of money involved in a case.”
“The option of fine should at least be commensurate with the crime committed… Fine should be an option that would be stringent for the convict to meet or either straight go to jail,” he added.
He faulted the ruling by Justice Adamu Bello’s, saying that “the Judge was on trial and he lost that process… as a barometer… you are also responsible for making law.”
“The review of the law should not be used as an escape for such a ruling,” he pointed out.
In his opinion the judge should have used his discretionary powers to ensure justice. “The judge would have reflected the circumstances of that case, assuage the pains and feelings of the Nigerian people and the police pensioners who have been deprived, many of whom have died without their entitlement, by asking that guy to pay a minimum of N1billion fine.”
He also challenged the integrity of the lawmakers of the country, saying that the “lawmakers anticipate that they would find themselves in this position at one point or the other and that is why they are prescribing this least possible sentencing.”

AGF opposes suit challenging Jonathan’s power to replace Salami

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke (SAN) has filed a preliminary objection challenging the  locus standi of a group of 11 lawyers challenging the president’s power to appoint  an acting president of the Court of Appeal following the suspension of the president of the court, Justice Ayo Salami.

Counsel to the federal government argued that the plaintiffs have not shown how the removal of Justice Salami or the appointment of an acting president of the court will be injurious to them.

Counsel to the plaintiffs, Mr. Jitobo Akanike, however argued that as lawyers and ministers of the temple of justice they have it as a duty to ensure that the sanctity of the judiciary as a separate arm of government is not meddled with as if it is under the executive.

He argued that the role of discipline for erring judicial officers should be left to the National Judicial Council (NJC).

Presiding Judge, Justice Abdullahi Adamu, has fixed January 17 for a definite hearing of the objection filed by the federal government.

Justice Salami was suspended from office after a major disagreement between him and Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu, the then Chief Justice of Nigeria last year.