Law News
Nyako seeks probe of CJ over case file siezure

A former Governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako, has asked the National Judicial Council and the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mukhtar, to probe the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, for allegedly stalling delivery of judgment in a case challenging his impeachment in July 2014.

Nyako through his lawyer, Mr. Olukoya Ogungbeje, and his media aide, Alhaji Ahmad Sajoh, in Abuja on Wednesday, accused Justice Auta of seizing the case file to stop the delivery of judgment in the case which is before Justice Bilikisu Aliyu of a Federal High Court in Yola.

Ogunbeje, who addressed journalists along with Sajoh, said Justice Aliyu heard all parties in the suit on February 2, 2015 and adjourned till February 12 for judgment, only for Justice Auta to “seize the file” before the judgment day.

But the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court, Mrs. Rosemary Oghoghorie, in a reaction to the allegation, insisted that the case file was not seized but that the Chief Judge only “called for” it to clear a petition dated February 3, 2014 written to his office by a party in the suit.

“Until the petition is treated, the file will not be released. The judge handling the case has not responded to the petition and until that is done, the case file will not be released. That is the right procedure to follow,” Oghoghorie said.
She added that another twist had been introduced into the case with a stay of proceedings granted by the Court of Appeal in Yola on Tuesday.

“The stay of proceedings supersedes everything. So even if the CJ releases the file today, he cannot ask the judge to go on. But I want to tell you that the CJ has not seized the file, he has not interfered with the case,” she added.

The former governor had in November filed the fundamental rights enforcement suit alleging that he was denied fair hearing in the proceedings of the impeachment panel which recommended his removal from office to the state House of Assembly in July 2014.

Ogungbeje said, “On the day the judgment was to be delivered, the judge was not around. No prior information that the court would not sit and no new date was fixed. We got information that it was the CJ that called for the file.

“As we speak to you the file remains with the CJ. Whose interest is he protecting? We want Justice Auta to tell the whole world why he has not sent the file back to Federal High Court, Yola.”

Ogungbeje, who had earlier sent separate petitions to the CJN and the NJC told journalists in Abuja on Wednesday that the former governor also sought the probe of the Chief Judge of the Adamawa State, Justice Ishaya Banu, for showing questionable interest in the case.

“The Chief Judge of Adamawa State, Justice Ishaya Banu, is hearing a different case filed by Admiral Murtal Nyako to challenge his impeachment procedure. Justice Ishaya Banu has refused to hear the suit.

“What is the interest of a Chief Judge in a suit involving politicians? He filed an application to join the suit before Justice Bilikisu Aliyu and the judge dismissed the application. As if that was not enough, Justice Ishaya Banu promptly appealed against the judgment. The Chief Judge has decided to go join the foray of litigation.”
He called on both the CJN and the NJC to intervene in the case.

“We call on the Chief Justice of Nigeria and the NJC to urgently step into this case and caution the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court.

“We also call on the Chief Justice of Nigeria and the NJC to caution Justice Ishaya Banu all in a bid to prevent the breakdown of law and order, all in a bid to ensure justice is done, all in a bid to ensure that judgment is delivered without any further delay.”

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