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NJC declines Adeleke’s request to remove Osun CJ

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NJC declines Adeleke’s request to remove Osun CJ

Gov. Adeleke and the suspended Osun CJ, Adepele Ojo.

Published By: Taiwo Okanlawon

By Taiwo Okanlawon

The National Judicial Council has rejected the request of Osun State Governor Ademola Adeleke to appoint the next most senior judge in the state, Justice David Olayinka Afolabi, in an acting capacity.

This decision follows allegations against Justice Oyebola Adepele Ojo, the Osun State Chief Judge, and the resolution of the State House of Assembly to suspend her.

The decision was reached at the 104th NJC Meeting chaired by Justice Olukayode Ariwoola between December 6 and 7, 2023, in Abuja.

The NJC, in a statement signed by the NJC Director of Information, Soji Oye, affirmed Justice Ojo as the recognized Chief Judge of Osun State and also rejected the resolution of the Osun State Assembly.

The Council, emphasizing its constitutional authority to investigate Judicial Officers and recommend actions to the Governor, directed Osun State to return to the status quo.

“Council considered and declined the request of Governor Ademola Adeleke of Osun State to swear in the next Most Senior Judge in the State in an acting capacity, following allegations against Hon. Justice Adepele Ojo, Chief Judge, Osun State, and the resolution of the State House of Assembly to suspend him.

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“The Council affirmed that Hon. Justice Ojo is still the recognized Chief Judge of Osun State and would not act on the resolution of a State House of Assembly. Consequently, Osun State should revert to the status quo.”

At the conclusion of the meeting, the NJC recommended the compulsory retirement of Justice S. O. Falola of the Osun State High Court.

The Council resolved to recommend him to the state governor for compulsory retirement with immediate effect.

This recommendation was based on the findings of an investigation committee following a petition against him by Dapo Kolapo Olowo and Polaris Bank. The petition highlighted the granting of a Garnishee Order Absolute against the bank for the sum of N283,174,000.00 (two hundred and eighty-three million, one hundred and seventy-four thousand Naira) in a questionable and unusual manner, including the endorsement of the order, attaching the account of the Garnishee with another Garnishee and not the account of the judgment debtor who had the legal obligation to pay the supposed judgment sum.

“They found that the subject Judge misconducted himself by entertaining Suit No HIK/41/2018 when there was no evidence of a judgment of the Kwara State High Court before him, neither was there a Certificate of Registration of the same in Osun State to confer jurisdiction on him.

“It further found the conduct of the subject Judge traveling to Lagos to visit the Counsel of the Bank in his Chambers on the issue of Garnishee Proceedings, unbecoming of the standard expected of a judicial officer.”

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