The National Judicial Council (NJC), the body responsible for payment of salaries to all judicial officers, on Tuesday sacked two high court judges for judicial misconduct.
The fired judges are Justice O. Gbajabiamila of Lagos State High Court and Justice Idris M. J. Evuti of the Niger State High Court. The council which is headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, said it took the decision at the end of a meeting held on April 13 and 14.
NJC decided on Justice Gbajabiamila’s sack after it found that he delivered judgment in a matter before him 22 months after written addresses were adopted by all the parties and 35 months after the close of evidence in the suit.
Two other judges of the Niger State High Court, Justices Evuti and Tanko Yusuf Usman, were found guilty by the NJC of allegations that they falsified their dates of birth. It said the judges were indicted on the basis of a petition filed against them by one Mohammed Idris Eggun.
NJC said though it did not suspend Justice Tanko Yusuf Usman because he had earlier voluntarily retired from office with effect from March 1, 2016, but it however ordered him to refund all the salaries and gratuity he received from June last year when should have retired from the bench.
While Justice Evuti was alleged to have falsified his age from September 15, 1950 to April 10, 1953, Justice Usman allegedly falsified his age from June 27, 1950 to June 27, 1951.
A fact-finding committee set-up by the Council found from the records made available to it that the Hon. Justice Evuti used three different dates of birth over the years as September 15, 1950, April 10, 1953 and April 1, 1953 and, therefore, recommended his compulsory retirement with immediate effect.
Apart from the recommendation for compulsory retirement of Hon. Justice Evuti, the council recommended to the government of Niger State to deduct all salaries received by him from September, 2015 till date from his gratuity and remit same to the NJC that pays salaries of all judicial officers in the federation.
Also at the same meeting, the NJC said it has exonerated Justice Saliu Saidu of the Federal High Court, Lagos, of allegations of misconduct leveled against him by the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC.
Instead, it reported counsel to SEC, Oluwaseun Olusiyi, to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee for walking out on the judge after she was told that her matter was not ripe for hearing.