By Fabian Ekeruche
The Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sanitise the judiciary by removing corrupt judges reinstated by the National Judicial Council.
This is contained in a statement by CSNAC Chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, on Sunday in Lagos.
Suraju said that the reinstatement of Justices Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, James Agbadu-Fishim and Nasir Yinusa was a sabotage on the war against corruption in the judicial system.
He said that Ofili-Ajumogobia was arrested and investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged corrupt practices and abuse of office.
“The President approved her dismissal from public service, but the National Judicial Council reportedly reinstated her as a Judge of the Federal High Court despite her dismissal not being overturned by any court in Nigeria.
“Similarly, the National Judicial Council also reinstated Justice Agbadu-Fishim as a judge despite his arrest and investigation by the EFCC for alleged corruption and subversion of justice.
“The National Judicial Council had recommended his dismissal to the President for judicial misconduct, but later decided to reinstate him as a judge of the Council.
“Despite previously indicting him for gross misconduct and recommending his retirement to the President, the Council had placed Justice Nasir Yinusa on suspension, pending the approval of the recommendation, but surprised many by reinstating him,” the statement said.
According to the coalition, the Judicial Council has no legal right to reinstate judges who were previously indicted for misconduct.
The coalition added that the Council had overstepped its bounds by ignoring the recommendations to retire the judges, but rather proceeded with their reinstatement.
“The President is required by law to accept or reject the recommendations made by the Council, and that the Council does not have the power to unilaterally reinstate judges who have been indicted for misconduct,” Suraju said.
He noted that the coalition had written to the President to approve the retirement of Justice Nasir Yinusa on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council and direct the Council to reverse the illegal reinstatement of Mrs Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia and Mr. James Agbadu-Fishim as judicial officers in Nigeria.
He added that copies of the letters were sent to the Vice President and Attorney General of the Federation.