Law News
Court nullifies indictment of ex-Abuja CJ by NJC

A Federal High Court in Abuja has set aside the indictment of a former Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Justice Hassan Gunmi (retd.), by the National Judicial Council in July 2013.

The NJC had found Gumi, who is now the Emir of Gunmi in Zamfara State, guilty of interference in the execution of the judgment delivered by another judge of the FCT High Court, Justice Jude Okeke.

The NJC said it would have sacked the former FCT chief judge had he not voluntarily retired earlier.

Gunmi had voluntarily retired in May 2013 after the NJC commenced investigations into allegations of misconduct against him, including the one by the Nestello Gateways Group.

Justice Abdulkadir Abdul-Kafarati held in a judgment on Tuesday that the investigation conducted by the NJC on a petition of alleged misconduct against Gunmi, coming after he had voluntarily resigned as a judicial officer, was null and void.

The court also upheld Gunmi’s argument that the NJC lacked the power to conduct the investigation on the grounds that there were two pending suits -FHC/ABJ/CJ/27/13 at the Federal High Court in Abuja and FCT/HC/CV/2558/13 – challenging his alleged interference in the execution of the judgment of another judge.

The court was delivering judgment in a suit, FHC/ABJ/CS/365/13, filed by Gunmi to stop NJC from continuing the NJC probe against him.

The defendants in the suit are NJC; chairman of the NJC investigative panel, Justice P.O. Aderemi; the panel members – Justice V.N. Nebo, Justice Olatokunbo Olopade; Nestello Gateway Group Ltd, Mike Mbanefo and the secretary of the NJC.

Justice Abdul-Kafarati in his judgment granted among other prayers, “a declaration that insofar as the above-mentioned suits are pending before the court, the 1st to 4th defendants lack the jurisdiction to entertain the 5th and 6th defendants’ petition against the plaintiff.

“An order of this court restraining the 1st defendant (NJC), its agents, servants, privies and more particularly the 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants from exercising disciplinary powers or control over the plaintiff who has ceased to be a serving judicial officer by reason of his notice of voluntary retirement dated May 13, 2013 receipt of which was acknowledged by the 1st defendant on May 14, 2013 and three months’ salary in lieu of notice paid by the plaintiff on May 13, 2013.

“A declaration that any proceedings held or steps taken or decision reached or to be arrived at by the 1st to 4th defendants insofar as it relates to the petition by the 5th and 6th defendants against the plaintiff is null, void and of no effect whatsoever.

“An order setting aside anything done or purported to be done by the 1st to 4th defendants in furtherance of the 5th and 6th defendants’ petition filed against the plaintiff who has ceased to be a judicial officer and more particularly by reason of the pendency of the abovementioned suits.”

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