The Presidency has berated the National Judicial Council for reinstating six suspended judges who were under investigation for alleged corruption.
The Special Adviser to the President on Prosecutions, Okoi Obono-Obla, expressed dissatisfaction with the NJC during a live television programme on Channels TV, titled ‘Sunrise Daily’ on Monday.
No fewer than five of the judges, who were suspended in October last year. After eight months, they are yet to be arraigned by the Federal Government, causing the Nigerian Bar Association to demand their immediate reinstatement.
The reinstated judges include 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, who has been discharged and acquitted; Justice Musa Kurya of the Federal High Court; and Justice Agbadu Fishim of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria.
Obono-Obla said the EFCC was planning to file criminal proceedings against the judges.
He said: “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.
One of the reinstated judges, Justice Adeniyi Ademola, was arraigned but the charges were struck out by the court.
The Federal Government had filed an appeal against the ruling when the NJC reinstated him. The President’s aide said he was particularly disappointed that the NJC reinstated Justice Ademola, whose case is still under appeal.