The National Judicial Council said on Sunday that it had recommended the compulsory retirement of Justice Mohammed Yunusa of the Enugu Division of the Federal High Court and another judge of the Osun State High Court, Justice Olamide Oloyede, for various acts of judicial misconduct.
The NJC’s Acting Director, Information, Mr. Soji Oye, said in a statement on Sunday that the council headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, took the decision at its 77th meeting held on Friday.
Justice Yunusa was recently accused of taking a bribe from a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Rickey Tarfa, but that was not the basis for his sanction by the NJC.
The NJC said Yunusa was recommended for compulsory retirement for making orders restraining the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission and other law enforcement agencies from investigating some persons, including a former Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah.
It said Oloyede was however sanctioned because of the petition she wrote to the Osun State House of Assembly against the state governor, Rauf Aregbesola.
It said by her petition, Oloyede “failed to conduct herself in such a manner as to preserve the dignity of her office and impartiality and independence of the judiciary.”
The NJC’s statement read in part, “In the meantime, the National Judicial Council, in the exercise of its disciplinary powers under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, has suspended Hon. Justice M. N. Yunusa and Hon Justice Olamide Folahanmi Oloyede from office pending the approval of the recommendation of the Council for their compulsory retirement by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, and Governor Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola of Osun State respectively.”
The NJC said Yunusa’s decisions restraining the law enforcement agencies from carrying out their constitutional duties contravened the judgment of the Court of Appeal in A.G. Anambra State Vs. UBA which he quoted but did not apply in his rulings.
He was also said to have violated Section 46 (1) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended) by assuming jurisdiction on Oduah’s case in Lagos, whereas the applicant complained of an alleged infringement of the applicant’s right which occurred in Abuja.
The statement further read, “Hon. Justice Mohammed Nasiru Yunusa was recommended for compulsory retirement from Office to President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, pursuant to the ‘findings’ by the Council following the allegations contained in the petitions written against him by the Civil Society Network Against Corruption that His Lordship granted interim orders and perpetual injunctions, restraining the Attorney General of the Federation, the Inspector-General of Police, the Independent Corruption practices and related offences Commission and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission from arresting, investigating and prosecuting some persons accused of corruption in the following 7 cases”
On Justice Oloyede’s case, the NJC said her petition against Aregbesola was calculated to incite the people of the state against the government.
“The Hon. Judge failed to conduct herself in such a manner as to preserve the dignity of her office and impartiality and independence of the Judiciary when she wrote a petition against the Osun State Governor and his deputy to the members of the State House of Assembly and circulated same to 36 persons/organisations,” the statement added.
It would be recalled that Justice Yunusa it was that ruled last year that three journalists be remanded in Prisons custody for weeks over allegations of defamation of character which was a bailable offence .