NJC retires judges over age falsification, delay of judgment
Written by Morenike Adebayo on April 20, 2016
The National Judicial Council said on Tuesday that it had sanctioned two judges of the Niger State High Court, Justices Idris Evuti and Tanko Usman, for allegedly falsifying their dates of birth.
The NJC also said it also sanctioned another Lagos State High Court judge, Justice O. Gbajabiamila, for allegedly delayed delivery of judgment in a suit for 22 months.
NJC’s Acting Director of Information, Mr. Soji Oye, said in a statement that the council had recommended Justices Evuti and Gbajabiamila to their respective states governors (Niger and Lagos respectively) for compulsory retirement.
Oye said both Justices Evuti and Gbajabiamila had been placed on suspension pending when the Niger State Governor, Mr. Abubakar Bello, and his Lagos State counterpart, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, would take decision on the NJC’s recommendations.
He said Justice Usman was not recommended to the Niger State governor for compulsory retirement because the judge had already retired as of the time the NJC took the decision at its meeting which was held April 13 and 14, 2016.
But the NJC’s spokesperson explained that the council had written to the Niger State Government to deduct from Justice Usman’s gratuity, the salaries received by him from June 2015 when he should have retired from the bench.
He also said the NJC had recommended to the Niger State Government to deduct all salaries received by Justice Evuti from September 2015 till date from his gratuity and remit same to the council which is the body that pays salaries of judicial officers in the country.
The statement read in part, “Council also considered a petition written by Mohammed Idris Eggun against Hon. Justices Idris M. J. Evuti and Tanko Yusuf Usman of the High Court of Niger State on falsification of their dates of birth.
“A fact-finding committee set-up by the council found from the records made available to it that the Hon. Justice Evuti used three different dates of birth over the years as 15th September, 1950, 10th April, 1953 and 1st April, 1953 and therefore recommended his compulsory retirement with immediate effect.
“Apart from the recommendation for compulsory retirement of Hon. Justice Idris M. J. Evuti, Council recommended to the Government of Niger State to deduct all salaries received by him from September, 2015 till date from his gratuity and remit same to the National Judicial Council that pays salaries of all Judicial Officers in the Federation.
“With respect to the Hon. Justice Tanko Yusuf Usman, Council did not recommend his compulsory retirement because it had already accepted his retirement with effect from 1st March, 2016.
“However, council decided to write to the Government of Niger State, to deduct from the gratuity the salaries received by him from June 2015 when His Lordship should have retired from the bench.”
In respect of Justice of Justice Gbajabiamila of Lagos State High Court, the NJC said apart from delaying judgment in a suit, ID\1279\2007 – P. K. Ojo Vs SDV & SCOA Nigeria Plc, for 22 months after adoption of written addresses, the judge also failed to publish his judgment 40 days after delaying it.
The judge was also said to have, among other alleged professional misconduct, continued to hear the case after he had been notified of the pendency of a motion for a stay of execution at the Court of Appeal and that an appeal had been entered.
The statement read, “Hon. Justice O. Gbajabiamila was recommended for compulsory retirement from Office to the Governor of Lagos State, pursuant to the findings by the council on the allegations contained in the Petitions written against His Lordship by Mr. C. A. Candide Johnson, SAN.
“The allegations: That the Hon. Judge delivered judgment in Suit No ID\1279\2007 P. K. Ojo Vs SDV & SCOA Nigeria Plc, twenty-two months (22), after written addresses were adopted by all the Counsel and Thirty-five (35) months after the close of evidence in the Suit, contrary to the Constitutional Provisions that judgments should be delivered within a period of 90 days;
“That His Lordship did not publish a copy of judgment he delivered on 24th December, 2013 until after 40 days, contrary to the provision of the Constitution which required that a copy of the Judgment of a Superior Court of Record be given to Parties in the case within seven days of delivery.
“That the Hon. Judge continued to hear the Suit in his court after he had been notified of the pendency of a motion for a stay of execution at the Court of Appeal and that an appeal had been entered.