Alex Enumah in Abuja
In his determined efforts to call erring judicial officers to order, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, has ordered the Judicial Service Committee (JSC) of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to commence disciplinary action against the Upper Area Court Judge, who issued Direct Criminal Summons against a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Professor Chukwuma Soludo.
The judge, whose name was withheld had recently issued criminal charges against Soludo, candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) in the November 6 governorship election in Anambra State, over alleged serial abuse of office and breach of Code of Conduct for public officers while in office between May 29, 2004 and May 29, 2009.
According to the summon, Soludo was to appear before the court and answer to charges bordering on perjury, corruption and false assets declaration, which was completely outside the jurisdiction of the Upper Area Court.
Trial on criminal charges on false declaration of assets is exclusively vested in the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) but the Upper Area Court Judge assumed jurisdiction contrary to the provisions of the 1999 Constitution.
THISDAY learnt that “from all indications, the CJN seems determined to put an end to impunity and misconduct in the Judiciary”.
The CJN had recently met with the Chief Judges of FCT, Rivers, Kebbi, Cross Rivers, Jigawa, Anambra and Imo States and directed them to admonish the Judges in their jurisdictions on the danger of granting conflicting ex parte injunctions, especially by courts of coordinate jurisdiction.
The Acting Chief Judge of the FCT, Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf, who is the Chairman of the FCT Judicial Service Committee, was expected to submit his findings to the CJN within 21 days.