Nigeria

Kogi Court: Governor Bello, assemblyman have no power to remove chief judge

National Judicial Council | NJC

The Kogi State High Court, sitting in Koton-Karfe, has ruled that the executive and state legislature, jointly or unilaterally, cannot remove the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Nasir Ajanah, without recourse to the National Judicial Council (NJC).

The court also declared that the Chief Registrar of the State High Hourt held a statutory position as the accounting officer of the judiciary and was, therefore, not subject to the control and supervision of either the executive or the legislature.

Justice Alaba Omolaye-Ajileye made the declaration in his judgment on the suit brought against the Assembly, the governor and three others by Justice Ajanah and the Chief Registrar, Yahya Adamu.

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The suit with number HC/KK. 11CV/2018 had as respondents, the Kogi State House of Assembly, Speaker of the House, Bello Abdullahi, Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee, Governor Yahaya Bello and the state’s Attorney-General.

Justice Omolaye-Ajileye who granted all the reliefs and declarations sought by the claimants in the suit said he found merit in the action and all the declarations sought are allowed.

The judge noted that it is the NJC established under section 153(I) of the constitution (as amended) that has the power to recommend to the governor, the removal of a judicial officer where a Chief Judge of a state is to be removed, for whatever reason stressing that it is the NJC, and not the state house of assembly that is empowered to make recommendations to the governor of a state under item 21(d) of the third schedule to the constitution.

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