Adewale Egbedun, the Speaker of Osun State House of Assembly, has justified the suspension of the Chief Judge, Justice Oyebola Adepele Ojo of Osun State.
Since the suspension of the Osun CJ, there has been backlash from the Nigerian Bar Association, civil society organizations, and others criticizing the state government for the move.
The Assembly had directed Governor Ademola Adeleke to swear in Justice David Olayinka Afolabi as the Acting Chief Judge after suspending Justice Ojo.
Several civil society organizations have condemned the action and urged for the immediate revocation of the suspension by the Osun State House of Assembly.
The NBA has also stated that it will not acknowledge the Acting Chief Judge, Justice David Olayinka Afolabi, who did not appear for his swearing-in on Friday.
In a statement released on Monday by the Speaker’s Chief Press Secretary, Olamide Tiamiyu, it was clarified that the Osun State House of Assembly had no intention of overstepping the constitutional duties of the National Judicial Council, NJC.
The Speaker emphasized that the Assembly was fulfilling its constitutional obligation of exposing corruption as outlined in Section 128 (2) (b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Egbedun elaborated on the allegations against the Chief Judge, including diversion of funds for the State Judiciary Library, diversion of a judge’s robe allowance amounting to #5,000,000, indiscriminate suspension of judicial staff, and various other accusations.
He affirmed that the Assembly was cognizant of the 1999 Constitution and the decisions of the Supreme Court in different cases, and highlighted that the Governor and the House of Assembly cannot oust a Chief Judge from office without the involvement of the National Judicial Council.
The Speaker urged commentators to be cautious in their statements to avoid misconceptions about the actions of the Osun State House of Assembly.
He also clarified that the Assembly was not named as a defendant in the lawsuit filed by the Chief Judge at the National Industrial Court in Ibadan, emphasizing that the Assembly had not been served with any injunction related to the lawsuit.
Furthermore, he asserted that the Assembly will not be influenced by misguided interpretations of its actions and is committed to upholding the Constitution without abusing its powers to achieve unconstitutional objectives.
The Osun State House of Assembly remains steadfast in carrying out its constitutional responsibilities and will not succumb to any form of intimidation.