We Have The Powers To Suspend Rivers CJ-NJC The National Judicial Council NJC yesterday told the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja that it has no jurisdiction to entertain the suit brought by the suspended Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice P.N.C Agumagu seeking judicial review of his suspension. The NJC had announced on March 27 that it would not recognise Justice Agumagu as the Chief Judge of Rivers State and hence suspended him from office. Not satisfied, Agumagu through his counsel, Chief Akinlolu Olujinmi SAN approached the court to challenge his suspension. The applicant had joined Justices Babatunde Adejumo, Jubril Idris and Comwell Idahosa as second to fourth respondents respectively. While opposing the application, the NJC through his counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN urged the court to strike out the entire suit filed by the applicant. He hinged his application on the ground that the court has no jurisdiction to adjudicate on the application. Other respondents in the matter also raised objection as to the hearing of the application on ground that the court lacked jurisdiction to do so. When the matter came up yesterday, counsel to Agumagu prayed the court to hear both the preliminary objection of the respondents and the substantive suit together. However, all the respondents counsel objected stating that the court should first determine whether it has jurisdiction to hear the matter or not. After listening to the argument of all parties in the suit, the presiding judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola adjourned to May 26 to determine which of the application to hear first. In Agumagus suit, he is challenging NJC’s decision to suspend him and praying the court to restrain the members of an investigation panel set up to investigate the allegations against him from taking any further steps in respect of his case until the determination of the suit he filed. He is praying the court for “an order of certiorari, removing to this court for the purpose of being quashed, the query and letter of suspension from office of the applicant as a judicial officer, Ref. No. NJC/S.32/RV.CCA/1/1/36 dated March 26, and written by the 1st respondent to the applicant.” He is also seeking “an order of certiorari, removing to this court for the purpose of being quashed, the minutes of the decisions reached by the 1st respondent at its emergency meeting of March 26, 2014, concerning the applicant.” However, in their Preliminary Objection, the respondents told the court the NJC did not at any time appoint the second to fourth respondents joined in the suit to investigate the applicant. They further submitted that third and fourth respondents are not members of NJC adding that members of any panel constituted to investigate any judicial officer are always drawn from the statutory members of the council.
Posted on: Mon, 05 May 2014 19:10:08 +0000
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