Angry CJN Meets 7 CJs, 3 to Face NJC Investigation over Conflicting Orders
•Warns against granting ex parte orders on political matters
Three State Chief Judges (CJs) will any time from now appear before the National Judicial Council (NJC) to explain why disciplinary action should not be taken against them for alleged issuance of conflicting court orders. The decision to investigate the judges was taken by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, after a meeting with seven Heads of Courts on Monday in Abuja.
Muhammad had last week Monday invited some CJs to explain the rationale behind the issuance of contradictory court orders and indiscriminate injunctions by judges in their jurisdictions. The invitation was sequel to a report on certain worrisome restraining orders against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and some contestants in the forthcoming governorship election in Anambra State, as well as the leaderships of the major political parties in the country.
A statement by the NJC’s Director of Information, Mr Soji Oye, disclosed that the CJN, after a marathon meeting with the Heads of Courts, which lasted for over six hours, decided to use the three judges as warning to others. Although, disciplinary actions are usually taken against an erring judicial officer after investigation based on petition from members of the public, in this instance, the NJC is on its own investigating the three judges.
The statement was silent on the three judges pencilled down for investigation and possible sanction.
The CJs, who appeared before the CJN, are those of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, and Rivers, Kebbi, Cross River, Jigawa, Anambra, and Imo states.
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.”