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NJC sacks suspended Abia Chief Judge over bribe

NJC sacks suspended Abia Chief Judge over bribe - NJC, judge, bribe, abia

By Joe Akwarandu, Umuahia

The National Judicial Council () has recom­mended the compulsory retirement of the earlier sus­pended Chief of State, Justice Theresa Uzokwe, after it was discovered that she had received N825,000 only in favour of a litigant, and subse­quently signed a garnishee or­der of N109,612,500.

In a statement, the spokes­man of the , Mr. Soji Oye, said the council also recom­mended the retirement of a in State High Court, Justice Obisike Orji. He disclosed that stern warn­ings were issued to Justice S. E Aladetoyinbo of the FCT High Court and Justice Olu­sola Ajibike Williams of Lagos State High Courts.

According to the statement, Honourable Justice Theresa Uzokwe was recommended for compulsory retirement following the findings of two investigative committees set up by the Council.

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The committees investigated petitions against her by Umeh Kalu, SAN, Attorney-General/ Commissioner for Justice of Abia State, alleging illegal constitu­tion and working with a parallel Judicial Service Commission in­stead of the one constituted by the state governor and confirmed by the House of Assembly.

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According to Oye, the NJC, under the chairmanship of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mr. Walter Onnoghen, took the deci­sions at its 85th meeting which held on last week Wednesday.

The Abia State House of As­sembly had on January 26, 2018 passed a resolution suspending Justice Uzokwe as the state’s chief judge. It directed Gover­nor Ikpeazu to appoint an acting chief judge pending the comple­tion of investigation by its com­mittee into alleged acts of Jus­tice Uzokwe’s misconduct.

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The governor had subse­quently appointed Justice Orji in acting capacity. But the NJC on January 31, 2018, declared the suspension of Justice Uzok­we, by the House of Assembly of the state as unconstitution­al, the step having been taken without any recommendation by the council.

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While directing Justice Uzokwe to step aside, the NJC had also suspended Jus­tice Oji for submitting himself for unconstitutional swearing as the Acting CJ. Concern­ing Justice Oji, the statement said he was sanctioned for al­lowing himself to be sworn in as acting chief judge.

The statement read in part, “Hon. Mr. Justice Obisike Oji was earlier queried by the council for allowing him­self to be sworn in as Acting Chief Judge, and thereby col­luding in, and aiding an un­constitutional process. “His reply was unsatisfactory and the council recommended his compulsory retirement.

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