Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Ibrahim Muhammad, has ordered the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to immediately initiate disciplinary action against the Upper Area Court Judge that issued direct criminal summons against a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof. Chukwuma Soludo.x
The judge (names withheld) issued the criminal charges against the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) for the Anambra State poll over alleged serial abuse of office and breach of code of conduct for public officers when he was CBN governor between May 29, 2004, and May 29, 2009.
The Upper Area Court had on August 23, 2021 issued a direct criminal summons against Soludo over perjury, corruption, and false assets declaration, which is completely outside the jurisdiction of the Upper Area Court.
Trial on criminal charges on false declaration of assets is exclusively vested in the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) but the Upper Area Court Judge assumed jurisdiction contrary to the provisions of the 1999 Constitution.x
The JSC billed to discipline the judge is under the chairmanship of the Acting Chief Judge, Hussein Baba Yusuf.
A top source told The Guardian that “from all indications, the CJN and Chairman, National Judicial Council (CJC), Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, seems determined to put an end to impunity and misconduct in the judiciary.”
The CJN had met with chief judges of the FCT, Rivers, Kebbi, Cross River, Jigawa, Anambra, and Imo states on Monday, September 6, 2021, and directed some of them to admonish the judges in their jurisdictions on the danger of granting ex parte injunctions.x
The acting Chief Judge of the FCT is expected to submit his findings to the CJN within 21 days.
MEANWHILE, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) flagbearer for the 2021 Anambra State governorship election, Valentine Ozigbo, has lamented the worsening decay of roads and security challenges in the state.
Ozigbo, who stated this during his triumphant entry into the state amid cheers from thousands of supporters who welcomed him at Amansea, a border with Enugu State, at the weekend, noted that the conditions are unacceptable.
In another development, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to come clean on what the party called “unpalatable reports in the public space that the commission plans to start conducting the Anambra State governorship election from Imo State.”x
It also asked the INEC chairman to speak further on an allegation, especially from Anambra State governor, Willie Obiano, that the commission is planning to recruit returning officers from Imo State, as well as plan to allow the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government of Imo State to write the original result sheet in the state.
The PDP described the alleged “compromises by INEC as vexatious, provocative, completely intolerable and a direct recipe for a serious crisis in Anambra State, the South-East region and by extension derail the nation’s democratic order.”
The party, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said it “firmly rejects the reported move by INEC to use its facility in Owerri, Imo State capital, for the storage of electoral materials for the election rather than in Anambra State.”x