The Presidency on Monday said the National Judicial Council(NJC) was encouraging corruption by reinstating six suspended judges who were being investigated for corruption.
Okoi Obono-Obla, Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Prosecutions, said the Presidency was disappointed in the NJC over the reinstatement. He made this known during a live television programme on Channels TV, titled ‘Sunrise Daily’.
He emphasised that the Judicial Council knew the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) was in the process of charging the judges to court but deliberatly reinstated them.
Obono-Obla added, “I can assure you that the NJC was aware of the intention of the EFCC to file criminal proceedings against those judges. So, why the hurry? Some of those judges also have several petitions written against them to the knowledge of the NJC so what is the hurry?
“We were in the process of charging them to court and the NJC is aware that the EFCC was in the process of charging these judges to court and as I said earlier, there are also complaints, petitions from members of the public against these judges; so, why have they not looked into some of these petitions?
“The impression is that they (NJC members) are trying to protect some of these judges. Apart from the criminal allegations against them, there are several petitions against these judges.
“The NJC will just have to suspend them again. The judges should be stopped from sitting from today because they will soon be charged to court; I can assure you.”
He was disappointed Justice Ademola was recalled because the Federal government had filed an appeal.
“An appeal is not tantamount to a stay of execution but we are talking of a judge’s integrity; the reputation of the judge, the credibility of the judiciary. This is a judge whose credibility is at stake.
“He was arraigned for allegedly collecting bribes. He was discharged and acquitted and the decision was appealed. If I were that judge, I would not sit until the appeal is heard because members of the public will not have confidence in his court and the judicial system relies on the confidence of the people,” Obono-Obla said.
The reinstated judges are Justice John Okoro of the Supreme Court; Justice Uwani Abba Aji of the Court of Appeal; Justice Hydiazira Nganjiwa of the Federal High Court; Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Justice Musa Kurya of the Federal High Court; and Justice Agbadu Fishim of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria.
The Federal Government had filed an appeal against the ruling when the NJC reinstated him.