The National Judicial Council has rejected request by the Osun State Governor, Ademola Adeleke, to remove the state Chief Judge, Justice Oyebola Adepele Ojo.
Following allegations against Justice Ojo and the resolution of the State Assembly to suspend her, governor Adeleke had requested to appoint the next most senior judge in the state, Justice David Olayinka Afolabi, in an acting capacity.
However, according to a statement released on Thursday, signed by the NJC Director of Information, Soji Oye, the decision was reached at the 104th NJC Meeting chaired by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Olukayode Ariwoola between December 6 and 7, 2023, in Abuja.
“Council considered and declined the request of Governor Ademola Adeleke of Osun State to swear in the next Most Senior Judge in the State in an acting capacity, following allegations against Hon. Justice Adepele Ojo, Chief Judge, Osun State, and the resolution of the State House of Assembly to suspend him,” the statement read.
“The Council affirmed that Hon. Justice Ojo is still the recognized Chief Judge of Osun State and would not act on the resolution of a State House of Assembly. Consequently, Osun State should revert to the status quo.”
The statement also indicated that the apex judicial body in the country recommended the compulsory retirement of Osun State High Court judge, Justice S. O. Falola.
The recommendation followed the outcome of findings of an investigation committee on a petition written against His Lordship by Dapo Kolapo Olowo and Polaris Bank for granting a Garnishee Order Absolute against the Bank for the sum of N283,174,000.00 under a questionable circumstance.
The statement read: “The National Judicial Council under the Chairmanship of Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, GCON, at its 104th Meeting of December 6 and 7, 2023 has recommended the compulsory retirement of Hon. Justice S. O. Falola of Osun State High Court from the Bench.
“The recommendation was made sequel to the findings of an investigation committee in a petition written against His Lordship by Mr. Dapo Kolapo Olowo and Polaris Bank for granting a Garnishee Order Absolute against the Bank for the sum of N283,174,000.00 questionably and strangely, and endorsement of the order, attaching the account of the Garnishee with another Garnishee and not the account of the judgment debtor who had the legal obligation to pay the supposed judgment sum.
“It further found the conduct of the subject judge traveling to Lagos to visit the counsel for the bank in his chambers on the issue of Garnishee Proceedings unbecoming of the standard expected of a judicial officer.”
According to the statement the apex judicial body recommended that the state governor should Compulsorily retire Falola with immediate effect.
NJC has consequently suspended Falola from office pending the approval of the recommendation of his compulsory retirement by the Osun State Governor, the statement added.
Victor Ezeja is a passionate journalist with six years of experience writing on economy, politics and energy. He holds a Masters degree in Mass Communication.