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NJC To Investigate Three Judges Over Conflicting Court Orders

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The National Judicial Council (NJC) is set to investigate three State Chief Judges over the issuance of conflicting court orders.

Naija News reports that the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, had met with seven Heads of Courts on Monday in Abuja.

The CJN met with Chief Judges of Rivers, Kebbi, Cross River, Anambra, Jigawa and Imo States over conflicting court orders emanating from their courts of co-ordinate jurisdictions.

CJN Tanko also met with the FCT chief judge separately before meeting the rest.

But in a statement on Monday by the NJC’s Director of Information, Soji Oye, said the CJN met with the seven State Chief Judges for over six hours.

Oye disclosed that the meeting, which commenced at 11 am, and lasted till 5:30 pm, began with a one-on-one interaction with the judges.

He added that each of the judges was separately quizzed personally by the CJN for over an hour, before later reading a riot act in a joint session with all of them.

Oye revealed that three of the Chief Judges will soon appear before the NJC to explain the reason for issuing conflicting court orders and why they should not be disciplined.

The NJC spokesman, however, failed to reveal the three judges pencilled down for investigation and possible sanction.

He quoted the CJN as saying that the judiciary will no longer condone indiscipline or allow any judge to tarnish the image of the judiciary.

The statement said, “The meeting, which commenced at 11am, and lasted till 5:30pm, began with a one-on-one interaction with the CJs. Each of the CJs was separately quizzed personally by the CJN for over an hour, before later reading a riot act in a joint session with all of them.”

“The visibly angry CJN had stated that “a damage to one jurisdiction is a damage to all” and as such, they must put an end to indiscriminate granting of ex parte orders, conflicting judgements or rulings occasioned by forum-shopping.

Muhammad was also quoted as saying, “Your job as Heads of Court is a sacred one, and it, therefore, includes you vicariously taking the sins of others. There must be an end to this nonsense. You shall henceforth take absolute charge in assigning cases or matters, especially political personally.

“We shall make an example with these three Judges and never shall we condone such act.

“Three of the Judges who granted conflicting ex parte orders have been invited to appear before the National Judicial Council to show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken against them for granting the conflicting ex parte orders.”

Muhammad warned the Chief Judges to henceforth “avoid the unnecessary assumption of jurisdiction in matters with similar subjects and parties already before another court, protect the court from lawyers who were out for forum shopping, and work in tandem with all the judges to salvage the image of the judiciary.

“The CJN warned the CJs against making newly appointed judicial officers vacation judges and assigning complex cases to inexperienced judges.

“All Heads of Courts will be invited to a meeting to reemphasise the need for the judiciary to be circumspect on the issue ex parte orders. It said the Heads of Courts would also meet with the NBA leadership on the issue.

“The CJN advised all Heads of Court to be current on developments in the polity and the judgments delivered by courts of various jurisdictions. He also told them to urgently issue practice direction to guide judges in their various courts to avoid giving conflicting decisions.

Source: Naija News

Ige Olugbenga is a fine-grained journalist. He loves the smell of a good lead and has a penchant for finding out something nobody else knows. Gbenga is an alumnus of the prestigious Adekunle Ajasin University, Ondo State and The Polytechnic, Ibadan.