The National Judicial Council, on Thursday, came down hard on three judges from courts of concurrent jurisdiction.
A statement issued by the Director, Information, NJC, Soji Oye, in Abuja, explained that the judges were said to have granted conflicting ex parte orders in matters with the same parties and subject matters.
As a result, they were barred from promotion to the higher Bench for a period ranging from two to five years whenever they were due for such promotion.
Even though there was no written petition, allegations of corruption or impropriety against the judges, the NJC nevertheless initiated investigation pursuant to its inherent disciplinary powers under the constitution to unravel the circumstances that led to the spate of ex parte orders granted by courts of coordinate jurisdiction over matters with the same parties and subject matters.
The NJC took the decision at the end of its meeting held on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The meeting, which was chaired by the Deputy Chairman of the NJC, Justice Mary Peter-Odili, agreed with the recommendations of the investigation committee set up in September that Justice Okogbule Gbasam of the High Court of Rivers State be barred from elevation to the higher Bench for two years as he failed to exercise due diligence in granting an ex parte order in suit No: PHC/2183/CS/2021 between Ibealwuchi Earnest Alex & four 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.
Justice Gbasam was also issued with a warning letter to be circumspect in granting such ex parte orders in the future.
The NJC also resolved that Justice Nusirat I. Umar of the High Court of Kebbi State be barred from elevation to the higher Bench for two years, having found fundamental defects and non-compliance with the law in granting an ex parte order in suit No: KB/HC/M.71/2021 between Yahaya Usman & two others and Prince Uche Secondus & another.
He was also issued with a warning letter to be circumspect in granting such an order in the future.
Justice Edem Ita Kooffreh of the High Court of Cross River State will not be promoted to the higher Bench for five years for allowing himself to be used as a tool for “forum shopping” and abuse of court processes 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 aware of earlier orders of the high courts of Rivers and Kebbi states, being courts of coordinate jurisdiction with his.
Credit: The Punch