Breaking: NJC bars Justice Ekwo, 2 others over abuse of office

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Justice Inyang Ekwo

The National Judicial Council (NJC) has barred Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, and two others from elevation for two to three years over a series of offences bordering on abuse of office.

This is contained in a statement by the NJC Director of Information, Soji Oye, on Friday in Abuja.

The other affected judges are Justice GB Brikins-Okolosi of Delta State High Court and Justice Amina Shehu of the Yobe State High Court, who received warning letters.

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Oye said that Justice Ekwo was warned over an abuse of the discretionary power of a Judge, and subsequently barred from being elevated to a higher Bench for two years.

He added that Justice Ekwo was alleged to have wrongly granted an ex parte order in a suit between Juliet Ebere Nwadi Gbaka & 2 Ors V Seplat Energy Plc & 12 Ors.

According to Oye, Justice GB Brikins-Okolosi of Delta State High Court was warned over his failure to deliver judgment within the stipulated period in the case  of Joseph Anene Okafor Vs Skye Bank, even after the parties had filed and adopted their final written addresses.

He said that Justice Brikins-Okolosi was subsequently barred by the NJC from elevation to a higher bench for three years.

Justice Amina Shehu of the Yobe State High Court was barred from elevation for issuing a writ of possession conferring title on the defendant in a case without any subsisting judgment from any court to justify the issuance of the writ.

The statement said that the NJC under the chairmanship of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, at its plenary of the 105th Meeting held on May 15 and 16, 2024, also issued warning letters to erring judges.

Justice Amina Shehu of Yobe State High Court was barred from being elevated to a higher Bench for three years

“During the meeting, the Council reviewed two reports from its Preliminary Complaints Assessment Committees, which examined 35 petitions against judges from the Federal and State High Courts.

“The Council decided to form eight committees to further investigate the petitions deemed meritorious by the assessment committees.

“Additionally, the NJC considered recommendations from its Interview Committee on the Appointment of Judicial Officers for all Superior Courts of Record in Nigeria.

“As a result, the NJC resolved to recommend 86 judicial officers for appointment to the Court of Appeal, High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Sharia Courts of Appeal, and Customary Courts of Appeal of various states in Nigeria.

“These candidates will be sworn in after the NJC’s recommendations are approved by the President and their respective state governors,” Oye said.

He added: “The National Judicial Council under the Chairmanship of Hon. Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, GCON, at its plenary of 105th Meeting held on 15 & 16 May 2024, resolved to issue warning letters to Hon Justice Inyang E. Ekwo of the Federal High Court and Hon. Justice G. B. Brikins-Okolosi of Delta State High Court.

“Hon Justice Inyang E. Ekwo is warned for abuse of discretionary power of a Judge by wrongly granting an ex parte order in Suit No FHC/ABJ/C/626/2023 Juliet Ebere Nwadi Gbaka & 2 Ors V Seplat Energy Plc & 12 Ors.

“The Hon Judge is also barred from being elevated to a higher Bench for a period of two years.

“Hon. Justice G. B. Brikins-Okolosi of Delta State High Court is also issued a warning for failure to deliver judgement within stipulated period in Joseph Anene Okafor Vs Skye Bank, Suit No A/94/2010 after parties had filed and adopted their final Written Addresses.

“Justice G. B. Brikins-Okolosi will also not be elevated to a higher Bench for a period of three years.

“Council cautioned Hon. Justice Amina Shehu of Yobe State High Court for issuing Writ of Possession Conferring Title on the Defendant in Suit No YBS/HC/NNR/1cv/2020 when there was no subsisting judgement of any Court to enable His Lordship issue the Writ.

“Council at the meeting considered two Reports of its two Preliminary Complaints Assessment Committees that filtered 35 petitions written against Judges of the Federal and State High Courts and decided to empanel eight Committees to further investigate the petitions that were found meritorious by the Committees.

“Petition against various Judges were dismissed for lack of merit, evidence of misconduct, subjudice or that they were matters that could be appealed.

“The dismissed petitions were against Hon Justices A. M. Liman, A. A. Okeke, D. E. Osiagor of the Federal High Court, Hon Justices S. B. Belgore, Bello Kawu both of the High Court of Federal Capital Territory, Hon Justices O. A. Chijioke, A. E. Akeredolu and Kadi M. U. El-Mainari who sat on Election Petition Tribunal in Edo State, Hon Justice Okey Paulinus Aneke, High Court Enugu State and Hon Justice C. Anya of Abia State.

“Others are Hon Justices M. A. Ikpambese and W. I. Kpochi both of Benue High Court, Hon Justices T. E. Chukwuemeka Chikeka Chief Judge and B. C. Iheka of Imo State High Court, Hon Justice Rose Godwin Soji of Nasarawa State High Court, Hon Justice T. J. Yakubu, High Court Taraba State, High Justices W. N. Danagogo and Chinwendu Nworgu, High Court Rivers State, Hon Justice C. C. Okaa, High Court Anambra State and Hon Justice Abdullahi Sulyman High Court, Kogi State.”

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