The National Judicial Council NJC has dism.issed petitions written against a retired Supreme Court Justice, Mary Ekaego Peter Odili and 25 other Judicial Officers in the country who were accused of professional misconduct in the discharge of their duties.
Justice Odili escaped being investigated by the Council on the ground that she had retired as a Judicial Officer while 25 other petitions were thrown out for various reasons ranging from lack of merit, lack of diligent prosecution, withdrawal, being subjudice and for the subject Judge having retired from service.
However, seven State High Court Judges indicted by the NJC’S investigation Committee are to face probe panels that would determine the level of their culpability.
A statement by the NJC’S Director of Information, Mr Soji Oye on Friday in Abuja explained that the petition against the judicial officers were dismissed at a meeting presided over by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola.
The dismissed petitions were written against Hon. Justice Mary Peter Odili, Rtd Justice of the Supreme Court, Hon. Justices A. R. Barka, James G. Abundaga, O. O. Olasumbo Goodluck, Ibrahim A. Andetur-Yangsto all of the Court of Appeal.
Others are Justices F. O. Liman, A. R. Mohammed, H. A. A. Dashen, Peter Lifu, F. O. G. Ogunbanjo, A. Lewis Allagoa, D. E. Osiagor all of the Federal High Court.
Others are Justice Theresa O. Diai, Chief Judge, Delta State, Hon. Justices S. B. Belgore, K. N. Ogbonnaya Jude Onwuegbuzie and Edward Okpe of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
Also escaped the NJC hammer are Justices Joseph I Acha, Vesty O. Eboreime, both of High Court, Edo State, Hon. Justices Thelma Adanna Achom, Elvis A. Ngene of the Ebonyi State High Court, Hon. Justices A. B. Usman, M. M. Abubakar of Bauchi State High Court, Hon. Justice O. A. Opesanwo of the Lagos State High Court and Justice Oladiran Akintola of Oyo State High Court,
The rest are Justice Gegele A. Hammed of Kwara State High Court, Justice K. N. Udobong of Akwa-Ibom State High Court, Justice B. C. Iheka, Imo State High Court, Justice M. A. Zandai High Court, Borno State, Justice Mohammed Shinkafi of Zamfara State High Court, Justice R. S. Ladoja of the Kaduna State High Court and Justice M. S. A. Mohammed of the High Court of Niger State.
At the meeting, the NJC came up with a policy barring Judicial Officers from switching henceforth from High Court of Justice to the Customary Court of Appeal and vice versa.
The only exception allowed is when a new Customary Court of Appeal is established in a State and Judges who indicate interest to go to the Customary Court of Appeal will be allowed to proceed.
Under the new policy, once established, the candidates for the headship of the Court must be drawn from that Court only, even if all the Judges of the Court are junior to their counterparts in other Courts.
Meanwhile, the has Council recommended 37 Judicial Officers for appointment to the President and seven Governors as Justices of the Court of Appeal, Heads of Court and Judges of the High Court and Customary Courts of Appeal.
Those going to the Court of Appeal are Justices Asma’u Musa Mainoma, Paul Ahmed Bassi, Hannatu Azumi Laja-Balogun, Binta Fatima Zubair, Hadiza Rabiu Shagari, Peter Chudi Obiora, Okon Efreti Abang, Jane Esienanwan Inyang and Lateef Adebayo Ganiyu.
Justice Dije Abdu Aboki was recommended for appointment as Chief Judge of Kano, Daniel Iyobosa Okungbowa for Edo and Matilda Abrakasa Ayemieye for Edo.