Human rights activist and lawyer, Chief Malcolm Omirhobo has sued President Muhammadu Buhari and others at the Federal High Court, Abuja, praying for an order to stop the trial of judicial officers accused of corruption by the Department of State Security Service (DSS).
The lawyer said that the constitutional power to investigate, discipline and sanction erring justices of superior court of record in Nigeria for ethical violation and/or judicial misconduct is the exclusive responsibility of the National Judicial Council (NJC).
Joined as respondents in the suit marked as FHC/ABJ/CS/46/2017, apart from President Buhari, are Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), the National Judicial Council (NJC), Justice Jude Okeke and Justice John Tsoho.
The affected judicial officers, justice Sylvester Ngwuta of the Supreme Court of Nigeria and Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja alongside his wife, Olubowale, were arraigned before the 4th (Okeke) and 5th (Tsoho) respondents, respectively.
The plaintiff wants the court to declare that the 2nd respondent’s (AGF) prosecution or “purported prosecution of the affected two Justices at the instance of the 1st respondent (President Buhari) is arbitrary, an aberration and violation of the principles of separation of powers, judicial independence and the rule of law.”
He is now praying for an order compelling and/or directing the 1st and 2nd respondents to forthwith discontinue with the prosecution of the said two justices and refer the cases to the 3rd respondent and an order compelling the 3rd respondent to direct and or order the 4th and 5th respondents to forthwith discontinue with the trial of said two Justices and refer the cases to the 3rd respondent.
“An order compelling and /or directing the 1st and 2nd respondents to formally bring the petitions against the affected two Justices or any other Judicial officer to the 3rd respondent for investigation, discipline and sanctioning of the affected Justices, ”he is praying, asking further for a perpetual injunction restraining the 1stand 2nd respondents from prosecuting the affected two Justices or any other Judicial officer for ethical violation without following due process of law.
Supported by 53 paragraph affidavit, the deponent swore that unless the respondents are restrained, the independence of the Nigerian Judiciary will continue to be eroded by the executive arm of Government.
He averred: “That I am a Minister in the temple of Justice with the commission to protect and defend the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at all times. That the 1st and 2nd respondents have concluded plans to ask the DSS to raid the residence of more Judges and Court workers. That the 1st and 2nd respondents have successfully castrated the Judiciary and co-opt it as an appendage of the Executive arm.”
31 January, 2017