According to reports, the National Judicial Council (NJC) has cleared Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court of allegations of misconduct levelled against him in respect to the judgments delivered against the Senator Ahmed Makarfi faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In a letter dated March 15, 2017, and signed by its Secretary, Mr. Danladi Halilu, the NJC said it found no merit in the petition against the judge.
Halilu disclosed that the council, following the receipt of the petition, deliberated on it at its meeting of February 23, 2017 but found no merit in the petitions.
Justice Abang had on July 29, 2016 declared as illegal the Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee of the PDP.
Abang in a ruling he delivered held that the Makarfi-faction was illegal because it was a product of the party’s convention which held on May 21 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, in defiance of an earlier order of Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court, which had stopped the said convention from holding.
But the Makarfi faction not satisfied with the judgment wrote a petition to the NJC dated August 25, 2016, in suit Nos. FHC/ABJ/CS/439/2016 and FHC/ABH/CS/464/2016, accusing Justice Abang of assuming appellate powers to sat over the decision of the court of coordinate jurisdiction.
However, the NJC in its letter with reference number NJC/ F.3/FHC 44/VII/55 stated: “At the end of deliberations, the council found that your petition finds no merit as there was no sufficient material before the NJC to infer that the judge sat on appeal over the decision of his brother judge of coordinate jurisdiction.
“The appeal therefore lacked merit and is subsequently dismissed,” it said.
In another development, the NJC also dismissed the petition dated November 7, 2016 by Heritage Bank Plc against Justice Abang for lacking in merit.
The bank in a petition against the judge, accused him of improper judicial conduct and bias against in judicial proceedings before him.
But the NJC in Ref. No NJC/F3/FHC44/VII/556 dated March 15, 2017 dismissed the petition for lacking merit.
It would be recalled that Justice Abang had on July 29, 2016 declared as illegal the Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee of the national leadership of the PDP.
The court, in a ruling held that every action the committee (PDP National Chairman) had taken since it emerged through a convention the party purportedly held in Port Harcourt on May 21, amounted to nullity.
The court held that the Lagos Division of the court had also made orders on May 12 and 20, forbidding the PDP from removing the Sheriff-led Caretaker Committee. That order is still subsisting.
“Having regard to the order of the court, PDP had no lawful authority to hold the convention that led to the emergence of the Markafi-led committee.
The convention was unlawfully held and the caretaker committee was unlawfully and illegally appointed and could not take any legal decision for the PDP, in view of the subsisting order of the Lagos Division of this court.”