The National Judicial Council has explained the reasons for recalling some of its officers suspended pending the conclusion of investigation or determination of the cases filed against them.
The council in a statement said it took the decision following the expiration of the 45 days allowed for compilation of records in all circumstances. It expired on 7th May, 2017, for the Registrar of the lower court and 22nd May, 2017, for the appellant.
The council in particular expressed its disappointment against a statement issued by Okoi Obono-Obla, Esq, Special Assistant to the President on Prosecutions on 8th June, 2017 claiming that the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation filed a notice of appeal against the ruling of Hon. Justice Jude Okeke of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, for discharging and acquitting Hon. Justice A. F. A. Ademola and two others on 7th April, 2017.
According to the statement, “contrary to the above statement, the Registry of the High Court of the FCT, Abuja, informed the Department of Information of the National Judicial Council that the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation filed two Notices of Appeal in the Court; the first one on 7th April, 2017, against Hon Justice A. F. A. Ademola, his wife, Olabowale Ademola and Joe Agi, SAN. The second one was filed on 6th of June, 2017, two days after the press release was issued by the National Judicial Council, with additional grounds of appeal against only Hon. Justice A.F.A. Ademola.
“It is on record that when the Parties were invited by High Court of the FCT for settlement of records to be transmitted to the Court of Appeal on 18th April, 2017, the Appellant failed to turn up. The Registrar of the Court further adjourned the settlement of records to 21st April, 2017, and invited all the Parties, but the Appellant again did not come to Court.
“The total number of 45 days allowed for compilation of record in all circumstances expired on 7th May, 2017, for the Registrar of the Lower Court and 22nd May, 2017, for the Appellant.
“Council noted that the Office of the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice only filed additional grounds of appeal in the Court on Tuesday 6th June, 2017, three days after the press release by the council that the judicial officers have been directed to resume their Judicial duties.
“It was on 6th June, 2017, that letters were again issued by the registrar to the parties for settlement of records against 14th June, 2017.
For avoidance of doubt, by the Rules of the Court of Appeal, there cannot be a proper appeal before the court until parties have agreed and settled records before the lower court and transmit copies of such records to the Court of Appeal before an appeal number is given. It is only after an appeal number is given that an appeal is said to be entered in the Court of Appeal.
“The Council confirmed from Registry of the Court of Appeal that there is no such Appeal till date. The only matter that is pending is a Motion with Number CA/A/371M/CR/2019 filed by Joe Odey Agi, SAN, against the Federal Republic of Nigeria seeking the dismissal of appellant/Respondent appeal between the Federal Government of Nigeria Vs Joe Odey Agi for failure to transmit the Records from the Lower Court within 45 days”, the statement read.
The council noted that its decision to recall the officers was based on the principles of rule of law and fairness.
“Council reiterates that it shall continue to support the President Buhari Administration posture in its fight against corruption in all its ramifications in the Federation; and in cleansing the Judiciary of corrupt Judicial Officers, under the purview of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the principles of the rule of law enshrined therein,”