- The National Judicial Council has meted stern punishments to state high judges who ruled on Prince Uche Secondus' case
- The council on Thursday, December 16, noted that the judges from Kebbi, Rivers, and Cross River will not be promoted for two to five years
- This was announced in a meeting chaired by the Supreme Court judge, Justice Mary Odili on Thursday
Judges who presided over the case of Prince Uche Secondus, the former national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have been punished by the National Judicial Council (NJC).
The judges, Justice Nusirat I. Umar of the High Court of Kebbi, and Justice Edem Ita Kooffreh of the High Court of Cross River, have been barred from promotion for the next two to five years, The Nation reports.
This was announced on Thursday, December 16, by the NJC's director of information, by the Soji Oye, during a meeting chaired by Justice Mary Odili.
The statement seen by Punch partly read:
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“The meeting which was chaired by the Deputy Chairman of Council, Hon. Justice Mary Peter-Odili, CFR agreed with the recommendations of the Investigation Committee set up in September 2021 that Hon. Justice Okogbule Gbasam of the High Court of Rivers State be barred from elevation to higher Bench for two years whenever he is due, as he failed to exercise due diligence in granting the ex-parte order in suit No: PHC/2183/CS/2021 between Ibealwuchi Earnest Alex & 4 others and Prince Uche Secondus & another, as there was no real urgency, in the circumstances of the matter, that would have required an ex-parte order.
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“His Lordship is also issued with a warning letter to be circumspect in granting such ex-parte orders in the future.
“Council also resolved that Hon. Justice Nusirat I. Umar of the High Court of Kebbi state be barred from elevation to higher Bench for two years whenever due, having found fundamental defects and non-compliance with the law in granting the ex-parte order in suit No: KB/HC/M.71/2021 between Yahaya Usman & 2 others and Prince Uche Secondus & another.
“He is also issued with a warning letter to be circumspect in granting such ex-parte orders in the future.
“Hon. Justice Edem Ita Kooffreh of the High Court of Cross River State will not be promoted to higher Bench for five years for allowing himself to be used as a tool for “forum shopping” and abuse of Court process in suit No: HC/240/2021 between Mr. Enang Kanum Wani and Uche Secondus, as it was evident that, in granting the ex-parte order, he was seised of earlier orders of the High Courts of Rivers and Kebbi states, being courts of coordinate jurisdiction with his.
“He is also to receive a warning letter to be circumspect in granting such ex-parte orders in the future.
“The council also placed him on its watch-list for a period of two years.”
This nonsense must stop: CJN ‘queries’ three judges over conflicting court orders
Meanwhile, in a move aimed at sanitising the judiciary, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Ibrahim Muhammad, has asked three judges to appear before the NJC over their recent court pronouncements.
He asked them to show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken against them for granting the conflicting ex parte orders.
The judges had issued conflicting orders on issues bordering on the leadership crisis affecting the PDP, and matters relating to candidates for the Anambra governorship election.