The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, has directed the Judicial Service Committee (JSC) of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to probe the circumstances that led to a recent decision by a judge in Abuja.
The judge of an Upper Area Court, whose name was being withheld, allegedly issued a criminal summons against the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the November governorship election in Anambra State, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, on a complaint by some individuals who accused him of abuse of office and breach of code of conduct for public officers while he was Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) between May 29, 2004 and May 29, 2009.
It was learnt that part of the CJN’s directive to the Chairman of the JSC of the FCT, the acting Chief Judge, Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf, was to ascertain why the Upper Area Court judge assumed jurisdiction over a case of alleged violation of code of conduct for public officers, which is the responsibility of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
A senior official of the FCT JSC, who confirmed the CJN’s directive, said the committee was asked to immediately initiate disciplinary action against the Upper Area Court judge who issued the direct criminal summons against the former CBN governor.
“We were told the Upper Area Court judge had, sometime on August 23, 2021, issued a direct criminal summons against Prof. Soludo over allegations of perjury, corruption and false assets declaration, which is completely outside the jurisdiction of the Upper Area Court,” the official said.
By the CJN’s directive, the FCT JSC is expected to submit a report on its findings to the CJN within 21 days.
Also, Nasarawa State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Abdulkarim Kana, has blamed conflicting judgments delivered recently by some judges across the country on desperate politicians. He said some politicians have reduced Nigerian judges to mere tools.
Kana spoke at the weekend when a group, Civil Rights Anti-Corruption World Initiative (CRAWI), visited him at the state Ministry of Justice in Lafia, the state capital.
The state Solicitor-General and Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Isaac Ijiwo Edoh, stood in for the commissioner.
He said: “The issue is about some of the judicial officers. Just last week, we had about six to seven state CJs that were invited by the CJN because of conflicting judgments and ex parte orders.”
The commissioner said the conflicting verdicts give the impression that something might have gone wrong.
“This is because, if you are a High Court judge and I am a High Court judge, by our profession, we are of the same jurisdiction. You cannot sit on an appeal over my case.
“If I gave a judgment that someone is not happy with, he should go to Court of Appeal, from there to Supreme Court, not to go to another High Court that is having the same jurisdiction, whether in Nasarawa, Ebonyi or Katsina.
“That is what they are doing. And politicians have reduced some of our judges to nothing.”