The National Judicial Council has set up committees to look into the allegations levelled against some judges by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the council’s Director of Information, Mr. Soji Oye, said on Thursday.
The EFCC had, last year, reportedly sent petitions against some judges it was already prosecuting, following a judgment of the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal that serving judges could not be investigated or prosecuted by law enforcement agencies until they are disciplined by the council.
The judgment of the Court of Appeal since last year had rendered uncertain the fate of some of the ongoing criminal cases instituted by the EFCC and the Attorney-General of the Federation’s office.
Oye said in a statement on Thursday that the EFCC’s petitions and others sent against some 25 judges were to be looked into by seven investigative panels of the council.
“Petitions written against 25 judicial officers and others by EFCC were also considered by the council, after which it resolved to empanel seven committees to look into the allegations,” the statement read in part.
According to Oye, the NJC, under the chairmanship of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, took the decision, among others, at its 86th meeting held on May 8 and 9, 2018.
Oye said, at the meeting, the NJC cleared a Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Paul Galinje, as well as 10 other judges, of separate allegations of acts of misconduct levelled against them.
The judges cleared included Chief Judges of three states – Justice Aminu Ringim (Jigawa), Justice Peter Umeadi (Enugu), and Taminu Zailani, Chief Judge (Kaduna).
Oye also said that NJC recommended the compulsory retirement of a judge of the High Court of Adamawa State, Mr. Justice Michael Goji, to the governor of the state, Jibrilla Bindow.
Goji, who has now been placed on suspension pending the governor’s approval of the NJC’s recommendation, was sanctioned “for refusing to proceed on transfer to the Mubi Judicial Division of the State High Court since July 2017.”
In addition to the sanction of compulsory retirement imposed on him, the NJC also recommended that he be made to refund the salaries he had received since July 2017.