The National Judicial Council, at its 102nd Meeting presided over by the Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman, National Judicial Council, Hon. Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, GCON, on 14 and 15 June 2023, came up with a policy barring Judicial Officers from switching henceforth from High Court of Justice to the Customary Court of Appeal and vice versa.
In a statement on Friday, Soji Oye, NJC’s director of information, said the decision was reached during meetings held on Wednesday and Thursday.
The only exception allowed is when a new Customary Court of Appeal is established in a State. Judges who indicate interest to go to the Customary Court of Appeal will be allowed to proceed.
Once established, the candidates for the headship of the Court must be drawn from that Court only, even if all the Judges of the Court are junior to their counterparts in other Courts.
REPORT OF COMMITTEES
Council considered the Reports from various Investigation Committees and the Preliminary Complaints Assessment Committees on petitions written against thirty-three (33) Judicial Officers from the Court of Appeal and State High Courts and agreed with the Committees recommendations to empanel Investigation Committees against seven Judges of different states.
Petition against the remaining Judicial Officers were either dismissed for lack of merit, lack of diligent prosecution, withdrawal of the petition, being subjudice and for the subject Judge having retired from service.
The dismissed petitions were written against Hon. Justice Mary Peter Odili, Rtd Justice of the Supreme Court, Hon. Justices A. R. Barka, James G. Abundaga, O. O. Olasumbo Goodluck, Ibrahim A. Andetur-Yangsto all of the Court of Appeal, Hon. Justices F. O. Liman, A. R. Mohammed, H. A. A. Dashen, Peter Lifu, F. O. G. Ogunbanjo, A. Lewis Allagoa, D. E. Osiagor all of the Federal High Court;
Others are Hon. Justice Theresa O. Diai, Chief Judge, Delta State, Hon. Justices S. B. Belgore, K. N. Ogbonnaya Jude Onwuegbuzie, Edward Okpe of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Hon. Justices Joseph I Acha, Vesty O. Eboreime, both of High Court, Edo State, Hon. Justices Thelma Adanna Achom, Elvis A. Ngene of the Ebonyi State High Court, Hon. Justices A. B. Usman, M. M. Abubakar of Bauchi State High Court, Hon. Justice O. A. Opesanwo of the Lagos State High Court, Justice Oladiran Akintola of Oyo State High Court, Justice Gegele A. Hammed of Kwara State High Court, Justice K. N. Udobong of Akwa-Ibom State High Court, Justice B. C. Iheka, Imo State High Court, Justice M. A. Zandai High Court, Borno State, Justice Mohammed Shinkafi of Zamfara State High Court, Justice R. S. Ladoja of the Kaduna State High Court and Justice M. S. A. Mohammed of the High Court of Niger State.
Council also considered the report of its Interview Committee and recommended Thirty-seven (37) Judicial Officers for appointment to the President and seven Governors as Justices of the Court of Appeal, Heads of Court and Judges of the High Court and Customary Courts of Appeal.
They are as follows:
NINE (9) JUSTICES, COURT OF APPEAL
Justice Asma’u Musa Mainoma
Justice Paul Ahmed Bassi
Justice Hannatu Azumi Laja-Balogun
Justice Binta Fatima Zubair
Justice Hadiza Rabiu Shagari
Justice Peter Chudi Obiora
Justice Okon Efreti Abang
Justice Jane Esienanwan Inyang
Lateef Adebayo Ganiyu
CHIEF JUDGE, KANO STATE HIGH COURT
i) Justice Dije Abdu Aboki
CHIEF JUDGE, EDO STATE HIGH COURT
i) Justice Daniel Iyobosa Okungbowa
CHIEF JUDGE, BAYELSA STATE HIGH COURT
i) Justice Matilda Abrakasa Ayemieye
PRESIDENT, CUSTOMARY COURT OF APPEAL, DELTA STATE
i) Justice Catherine Ngozi Ojugbana-Orishedere
THREE (3) JUDGES, BENUE STATE HIGH COURT
i) Lilian Ngusuur Terseer-Tsumba
ii) Patrick Eka Oche
iii) Ukande Mvendaga Peter
FIVE (5) JUDGES, DELTA STATE HIGH COURT
i) Ossai Rita Ngozi
ii) Aforkeya Obomejero
iii) Adolor Sunny Onorieukuhakpo
iv) Samuel Ifeanyi Okeleke
v) Umuko Aboyowa Godwin
EIGHT (8) JUDGES, EDO STATE HIGH COURT
i) Ovenseri Otamere
ii) Obayuwana Osarenren Mathias
iii) Edoghogho Eboigbe
iv) Ojo Maureen Osa
v) Bright Eraze Oniha
vi) Ehinon Anthony Okoh
vii) Godwin Jeff Okundamiya
viii) Osayande Ikwuemosi Awawu
FOUR (4) JUDGES, KATSINA STATE HIGH COURT
i) Nuradeen Abdulmumeen
ii) Halima Lawal Bagiwa
iii) Abdullahi Bara’u Faskari
iv) Sanusi Ma’aruf Aminu
ONE (1) JUDGE, CUSTOMARY COURT OF APPEAL, BENUE STATE
i) Iortyer Vihilun Fidelis
TWO (2) JUDGES, CUSTOMARY COURT OF APPEAL, DELTA STATE
i) Gbakeji Michael Emakpor
ii) Uraih Tracy Patricia Ifeanyi
ONE (1) JUDGE, CUSTOMARY COURT OF APPEAL, OGUN APPEAL
i) Sofowora Oriyomi Abiodun
NOTIFICATION OF RETIREMENTS
The notification of retirements of nine Judicial Officers of the Federal and State Courts were also received and noted by the Council.