The dust raised by the arrest of some judges by the Department of State Security Services [DSS] is yet to settle as the National Judicial Council [NJC] yesterday disagreed with the Nigerian Bar Association’s [NBA] call for the suspension of the affected judicial officers currently under investigation over alleged corrupt practices.
Seven judicial officers comprising two justices of the Supreme Court and judges of the Appeal and High Courts across the country were arrested during sting operations by the Secret agency. .
Although the NBA had in the wake of the incident condemned the action of the DSS, the association however, made a u-turn on Thursday, when its President, Abubakar Mahmoud [SAN] called on the arrested judges to step down from the bench until they are cleared of the allegations of corruption against them.
Mahmoud made the call while speaking at the valedictory court session in honour of retiring Justice Sotonye Deton-West at the Court of Appeal in Abuja on Thursday.
But reacting to the NBA’s recent position on the matter, the NJC in statement by its acting Director of Information, Soji Oye, described the call as “unacceptable.”
The disciplinary body of all judicial officers in the country noted that it was not unaware of the views expressed by members of the public and lawyers on the issue, but added that the NJC could only recommend the appointment and dismissal of any erring judicial official to either the President or the governor of a state as prescribed by the Law establishing it.
The NJC admitted that its mandate was limited by the provisions in the 1999 Constitution that established.