By Ebere Agozie
The National Judicial Council (NJC) has set up high powered probe panels to investigate alleged gross misconduct allegations brought against 15 Judges of the Federal and State High Courts.
The probe panels are to determine the culpability of the Judges in the various petitions filed against them by individuals and corporate bodies.
A statement by the NJC issued by Director of Information, Mr Soji Oye on Friday in Abuja confirmed that the decision to investigate the alleged erring Judges was taken at the Council’s 99th meeting presided over by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola.
The decision, the NJC said, is sequel to the submission of recommendations of three Preliminary Complaint Assessment Committees which considered 66 petitions forwarded to them by the Council from all over the Federation.
However, the NJC did not name Judges to be probed, their divisions and specific nature of their alleged offences.
It however revealed that the Council dismissed petitions against 51 Judicial Officers of the Federal and State High Courts for either lack of merit, being subjudice, or being matters for appeal or that the concerned Judge have retired from Service.
The statement explained that the Council was formally presented with the reviewed Judicial Information Technology Policy which established the general requirements and responsibilities for the Nigerian Judiciary systems and information.
“The policy provides for guidance of Courts and Judicial Bodies in protecting Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability (CIA) of judiciary function and process.
” It also stipulates guidance for acceptable use of system, services and technologies as well as provisions for secure storage of judicial data and recovery processes in the event of emergencies or distress.
“Similarly, It further provides guidelines and incident management policies including Data Centre deployment and use policies.
“The Scope is intended for all Courts and Judicial Bodies in Nigeria including staff of the Nigerian judiciary, employed or contracted to any Judicial Body handling information that is generated, received, stored, transmitted, or printed.
“It encompasses all personal or Judiciary identifiable data held in their Courts and Judicial Bodies’ systems and process including supporting mechanisms and technologies for managing such data at rest or in transit.
“All staff are expected to comply with the policy and associated standard protocols and procedures that have been put in place to support the document.
“The policy is applicable to all Courts unit, departments of all Judicial Bodies in the Nigerian Judiciary.
“Council noted appointments of Judicial Officers recommended for appointment at the last meeting who have been sworn –in as Judges of Federal and State High Courts.
“Reports from Standing and ad-hoc Committees of the Council were also presented at the Meeting as well as
notifications of retirement of 16 Judges and notification of death of a Judge from the Federal and State High Courts”, the NJC said.