The National Judicial Council (NJC) has recommended the compulsory retirement of an Osun State High Court judge, Justice S. O. Falola.
A statement issued on Thursday by NJC’s Director of Information, Adesoji Oye, said Falola was found guilty of granting a garnishee order absolute against Polaris Bank for the sum of N283,174,000.00 in a questionable manner.
He said the investigation committee found that Falola travelled to Lagos to visit the counsel for the bank on the issue of garnishee proceedings, an action he described as unprofessional.
“The National Judicial Council, under the Chairmanship of Hon. Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, GCON, at its 104th Meeting of 6 and 7 December 2023, has recommended the compulsory retirement of Honourable Justice S. O. Falola of the 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 judgement debtor, who had the legal obligation to pay the supposed judgement sum.
“It further found the conduct of the subject judge, travelling 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,” Oye said.
The NJC spokesperson said the council had recommended to Osun State Governor, Sen Ademola Adeleke, to compulsorily retire Falola with immediate effect.
He noted that the NJC had suspended Falola from office pending the approval of the recommendation of his compulsory retirement by the state governor.
Meanwhile, the NJC has declined the request by Osun State Governor to suspend the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Adepele Ojo.
The council said it would not work with the resolution of the state House of Assembly, which constituted a panel to probe the Chief Judge.
“The council considered and declined the request of Governor Ademola Adeleke of Osun State requesting its permission to swear in the next most senior judge in the state in an acting capacity, following allegations levelled against Honourable Justice Adepele Ojo, Chief Judge, Osun State, and the resolution of the state House of Assembly, to suspend her.
“The coouncil affirmed that Honourable Justice Ojo is still the recognised Chief Judge of Osun State, and would not work on the resolution of a state House of Assembly,” Oye added.
The NJC spokesperson further explained that the council dismissed the petitions against the Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom State, Justice Ekaete Obot; Justice Benson Anya of Abia State High Court; Justice Z. B. Abubakar of Federal High Court; Justice Opufaa Ben-Whyte and Augusta Uche Chuku of Rivers State High Court.
The NJC described the petitions against them as unmeritorious and dismissed them.
“However, Honourable Justice A. I. Akobi of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory is to be issued a letter of guidance to take proper charge and control of his court, “ the statement added.
Oye noted that the council received 51 fresh petitions written against federal and state judicial officers and constituted 11 panels to investigate petitions that have merits.