The Nigerian Judicial Commission, NJC, last week dismissed three judges having concluded hearing into several complaints of misconduct filed against them by petitioners.
The NJC met on Thursday and Friday to consider several allegations of judicial misconduct by Justice Mohammed Yunusa of the Federal High Court, Justice Olamide Falahanmi Oloyede of the Osun High Court, and an unnamed judge from Benue State this newspaper gathered.
It was learnt that Justice Yunusa was summarily dismissed for granting an interlocutory injunction stopping the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, from investigating and arresting Senator Stella Oduah who is under the radar of the commission.
Justice Yunusa was said to have also received bribes and kickbacks from complainants and defendants, even writing two separate conflicting judgments in a particular case.
This paper also gathered that Justice Oloyede, a high court judge in Osun State had the worst case.
The High Court judge had written a petition to the state house of Assembly against the state governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, calling for a thorough and credible investigation of allegations of a deliberate and criminal mismanagement of the economy of Osun State, asking that the governor and his deputy be impeached.
However, Justice Oloyede failed to honour the invitation of the investigative panel set up by the house to investigate her petition. The petition was eventually thrown out of the Assembly for lack of evidence.
In the final written address of the complainant to the NJC obtained by this newspaper, the petitioner stated that â€œa judicial officer whether serving or retired cannot appear in court to defend a client, he cannot take brief as a solicitor or advocate, even where he is allowed to defend himself, he cannot sit in the bar or wear wig and gown. He cannot act as an arbitrator, despite how honourable the profession of a legal practitioner is. He cannot grant press interviews, write petitions such as this one (Exhibit A), campaign politically, accept gifts, seen in parties spraying money, involved in physical brawl, accepting chieftaincy titles, which are extrajudicial conducts.â€
The Petitioners,Â Osun Civil Societies Coalition, stated that, â€œThe rational and reason behind the above polices is to protect and preserve the sanctity and respect for the judiciary and the person of a judicial officer not only in his official capacity but also in his personal and private capacity whether serving, retired or removed.â€
The Petitioners claimed Justice Oloyede petition to the Osun State House of Assembly, expose the judiciary to public ridicule and opprobrium.
It was gathered that a thorough examination of Justice Oloyedeâ€™s petition reveals that she has a personal grouse, and an axe to grind with the Governor.
In dismissing Justice Oloyede, it was stated that she overstepped her ethics of office that demands that non-involvement in political matters and that her purpose of sending her petition (Exhibit A) is to disparage the person of the Governor and Government of the State of Osun.
â€œFrom the heading of the petition, it is obvious that the Respondent had a seditious intention of bringing into â€˜hatred or contempt or excite disaffection against the person of the Governor of the State of Osunâ€™â€ the address read.
â€œThe magnitude of the impropriety of words, the dimension of the copious political statement and unsubstantiated allegations and accusations were aimed at deriding, demeaning and undermining the State Government of Osun, the person and character of the Governor, his deputy and aides.â€
In dismissing Justice Oloyede, the NJC established that she knowingly falsified information and presented as facts in her petition to the Osun State House of Assembly, thus acting in a manner unethical and unbecoming of judicial officer.