It appears that Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja, pulled a fast one on the National Judicial Council (NJC) by hurriedly announcing his resignation.
According to Soji Oye, NJC’s Director of Information, the council, on Wednesday, recommended the compulsory retirement of Ademola, along with Justice O. O. Tokode, also of the Federal High Court, for misconduct.
The decision was taken at the Council’s 84th meeting on Dec. 6., chaired by the Chief Justice Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghe.
Ademola apparently getting wind of NJC’s decision, hurriedly notified the council of his decision to voluntarily retire from the bench.
Ademola was due for retirement on April 9, 2018, when he would attain the mandatory retirement age of 65 years.
The council said its decision was pursuant to its findings on the allegation in the petition written against Ademola by Committee of Anambra State PDP House of Representatives Members-Elect alleging gross misconduct in the handling of a matter they filed before Ademola.
The NJC urged the public to disregard news circulating that Ademola had voluntarily retired.
“The purported voluntary retirement is clearly an afterthought as council had taken action before his decision to forward any voluntary retirement letter,” Oye stated.
The council further said that Justice Tokode was also recommended to the President for compulsory retirement with immediate effect.
It said this followed its findings on the allegation contained in petitions forwarded by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and Miss Abimbola Awogboro.
“The petitioners accused the judge of misleading the Federal Judicial Service Commission and the National Judicial Council.
“This was 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 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,” Our revealed.
The council said in the interim, both judges were suspended from office with immediate effect.
The council similarly issued warning letters to Justices A. N. Ubaka of the National Industrial Court, Justice A. M. Lawal of Lagos High Court and Zainab Sadat of the High Court of Niger and placed them both on a watch list.
However, the council dismissed the petition written by Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff, former interim chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, accusing Justice A. Liman of the Federal High Court of corruption.