The National Judicial Council (NJC) has recommended to President Muhammadu Buhari to dismiss two judges accused of corruption by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The two judges are Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia of the Federal High Court, who is already standing trial, and Justice James Agbadu-Fishim of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria.
The NJC said it came to that conclusion after reviewing the allegations against the two judges. The NJC rejected the voluntary retirement of another judge and asked that a lawyer be punished by the appropriate legal body.
The NJC, under the chairmanship of Justice Walter Onnoghen, at its 87th meeting held on October 3, 2018, recommended the dismissal of Ofili-Ajumogobia based on the findings by the council on the allegations of misconduct contained in a petition by the acting chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu.
Magu had alleged that Ofili-Ajumogobia was a director/chief executive officer and sole signatory to Nigel and Colive Company, contrary to the code of conduct for judicial officers in Nigeria. He added that several personalities, individuals, government officials and business partners lodged funds into various accounts belonging to Ofili-Ajumogobia.
He specifically pointed out that there was an ex parte communication between the judge and Mr. Godwin Oblah, during the time the lawyer had a matter before her.
On his part, Agbadu-Fishim was recommended for dismissal based on allegations contained in another petition by Magu that the judge received various sums of money from litigants, lawyers and some influential Nigerians under the false pretence that he was bereaved or that there was delay in the payment of his salary, contrary to the code of conduct for judicial officers in Nigeria.
The council has suspended the two judges with immediate effect pending their removal from office by President Buhari. It rejected the letter of voluntary retirement purported to be with effect from the October 1, 2018, submitted to it Justice Joshua E. Ikede of the Delta State High Court. This followed the findings on an allegation of falsification of age contained in a petition written by Zik Gbemre against the judge.
In other decisions, the NJC issued a letter of advice to Hon. Mr. Justice K.C. Nwakpa of the High Court of Abia State to guard against unwarranted utterances in matters before him. This was as a result of a complaint to the council by one Princewill Ukegbu.