NJC Appeals Verdict Stopping Justice Ademola’s Probe

The National Judicial Council NJC has asked the Court of Appeal in Abuja to void a judgment given by Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court, Abuja restraining it (NJC) from proceeding with its investigation of Justice Adeniyi Ademola over allegation of misconduct.

Justice Tsoho had, in his judgment of July 7, this year, barred the NJC from inviting Justice Ademola, a judge of the Federal High Court, for investigation over a petition written against him by Jenkins Duvie Giane Gwede sometime in 2016, but was later withdrawn by the petitioner.

The judge, who held that Justice Ademola could not be made to prove his innocence over a petition that was voluntarily withdrawn by the petitioner, said NJC’s insistence that Justice Ademola must appear before it was contrary to the provision of Section 36 (5 and 6) of the Constitution and unlawful.

In a notice of appeal filed before the Court of Appeal, Abuja on August 14, for itself and three members of the panel investigating the petition against Justice Ademola – Justice Umar Abdullahi (rtd), Justice Babatunde Adejumo and Mrs. Rakiya Ibrahim, the NJC raised 10 grounds of appeal and urged the court to set aside the judgment.

NJC argued that Justice Tsoho erred in law by assuming jurisdiction in the case where the National Industrial Court of Nigeria has exclusive jurisdiction. It noted that Justice Ademola being a serving judge was under its supervision and regulation.

It argued that by seeking to investigate Justice Ademola on issues relating to the performance of his official duties, it was performing its supervisory and regulatory roles.

The NJC faulted Justice Tsoho for assuming jurisdiction in the case despite its being incompetent for failing to comply with Order 34 Rules 5(4), 5(5) and 6(4) of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rule 2009.

It argued that the trail judge erred when he held that the investigation being conducted by its panel was for Justice Ademola to prove his innocence.

It contended that it was empowered to investigate the conduct of judicial officers, insisting that the invitation to the judge being investigated was in line with rules of natural justice

The NJC faulted the trial judge for holding that Section 36 (5) & (6) of the Constitution preclude it from investigating the subject matter of a withdrawn petition.

It argued that “Section 36 (5) & (6) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria relate to every person, who is charged with a criminal offence. The investigation of the 1st Appellant (NJC) into the conduct of the respondent (Justice Ademola) is not a criminal charge against the respondent”.

The NJC argued that Justice Tsoho misdirected himself by relying on the Justice Ademola’s assertion that he was required to prove his innocence over an allegation arising out of or in connection with a withdrawn petition

The NJC argued that Justice Tsoho misdirected himself by not finding that the Respondent’s action was premature, because Justice Ademola, being a judicial officer,

It was learnt yesterday that the trial court has requested the appellants to begin the compilation of records, preparatory to the filing of appellants’ brief or argument.

Eric Ikhilae
The Nation News

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