25 February 2013

Nigeria: 10 CPC Katsina Lawmakers Petition NJC, Want Sanction Against Judge

Ten Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) National Assembly lawmakers from Katsina State have sent a petition to the National Judicial Council (NJC) against Justice Gladys Olotu of a Federal High Court in Abuja to the National Judicial Council (NJC). In the petition, they demanded that the judge be sanctioned over alleged misconduct and overruling the Supreme Court.

The CPC lawmakers petition was dated February 20, 2013 titled "Petition against Justice Gladys Olotu of the Federal High Court, Abuja for Act of Misconduct and Abuse of Judicial Process in Senator Abdul Umar Yandoma & 9 others v. INEC & 14 others suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/1042/2011." It was also received by the NJC on the said February 20 while was made available to LEADERSHIP, yesterday.

The petitioners: Senators Abubakar Yar 'Adua and Abubakar Sirika and Honourables Abbas Machika, Isa Doro, Sheik Umar, Mansur Abdulkadir, Salisu Ado, Suleman Salisu, Sani Mashi and Ahmed Babba, want the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Aloma Mukhtar-led NJC to inquire into the petition and ensure that Justice Olotu was brought to book for bringing the legal profession and the entire Bench to disrepute and shame.

The petitioners also prayed the NJC to take a judicial notice of the fact that Justice Olotu did not only assume jurisdiction in the cases that have been determined by the Supreme Court, but went ahead to deliver judgment on the same matter and issues on Friday, January 11, 2013 and granted all the reliefs sought by the plaintiffs.

The CPC lawmakers added that Olotu consequently overruled the earlier decision of the Supreme Court in the consolidated cases of Senator Yakubu Garba Lado and 42 others Vs Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) & 5 others and Dr. Yusha'u Arimayau vs. CPC & 47 others in SC.157/2011 and SC.334/2011 respectively.

The petitioners also alleged that Justice Olotu had refused to release the certified true copies of the said judgment to enable them speedily fine tune an appeal over the matter.

The petition reads in part, "The said application in respect of Yandoma & 9 Ors. v. INEC & 14 Ors however met with brick wall as counsels were informed by the registry that Justice Gladys Olotu has refused to release the judgment/ruling".

"Counsel consequently caused reminders to be delivered to the Registry of the Federal High Court, Abuja, but up till now both the judgments and rulings have not been delivered to the counsel".

The lawmakers have also alleged that Justice Olotu is biased towards the case. According to the petitioners, "The National Assembly leadership was informed by plaintiffs that Justice Olotu told them

that there was no appeal or application for injunction/stay of execution of her judgment despite being aware that these processes were not only filed by our counsel but were served on all the parties concerned. This caused the National Assembly to write to the Federal High Court Registry whose response confirmed that the statement attributed to the said judgment was unfounded".

"We were further taken aback in the afternoon of February 19, 2013 when some of the plaintiffs and their supporters met some of us and boasted that they had perfected with the judge ways to dismiss our application and frustrate our appeal. "We would have ignored this but for the fact that we subsequently learnt that the said application for injunction pending appeal and stay of execution of her judgment came

up for hearing on February 19, 2013 without our knowledge not that of our counsel. It is however shocking that the plaintiffs above were not only informed of the application coming up for hearing on the said February 19, 2013 but were all present in court".

"We and our counsel only got to know of these facts when one of the respondents' counsel who coincidentally came to court for another business called them after the court had adjourned the application to February 21, 2013. We subsequently were served the hearing notice".

The petitioners therefore want to know whether Justice Olotu is now superior to the Supreme Court and can now upturn or overrule decisions of the highest court of the land.

"This is not only an aberration but an embarrassment to the Judiciary and the entire legal profession. The antecedent of Justice Olotu enumerated above is a clear show of bias and display of professional misconduct and gross abuse of office", the petitioners added.

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