Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari, has approved the compulsory retirement of Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court and the dismissal from office of Justice O.O Tokode of the Benin Division of the Federal High Court, as recommended by the National Judicial Council (NJC).
The council, headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, had last December found the two judges guilty of engaging in acts of judicial misconduct.
The decision was at the end of its 84th meeting in Abuja.
In a statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, President Buhari, said the disciplinary actions on the two judges are in pursuance of section 292 (1) (b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
Justice Tokode is also to refund all salaries and allowances earned illegally from December 2, 2015 when he was sworn-in as a judge of the Federal High Court to date.
The president urged judicial officers to be alive to their responsibilities and eschew corruption in the discharge of their duties.
In a related development, the Presidency has said judges and justices recommended by the NJC will be approved once the process of the background verification is completed.
Shehu, in a stament, said Buhari has commenced the process of ensuring that persons, judges and justices recommended for appointment into various courts of record in the instant are fit and proper, and are not under any disability to function as judicial officers.
The statement explained that Buhari’s position is in furtherance of the executive powers vested in him under Section 5 of the 1999 Constitution, which allows him as the appointing authority to exercise same reasonably, taking all relevant factors into consideration.
“Nigerians are assured that President Buhari will issue his approval or otherwise as soon as the process of the background verification is completed”, the statement reads.
Justice Ademola had on October 10, 2017, forwarded his notice of retirement to the Council, against April 9, 2018, when he will attain the mandatory retirement age of 65.
However, the NJC rejected his purported notice of retirement, saying he has already been recommended for compulsory retirement, following the findings by the Council on the allegation contained in the petition written against him by a group of eight persons under the name of Committee of Anambra State PDP House of Representatives Members-Elect.