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NJC sanctions three judges for granting frivolous ex-parte orders

Three judges who gave conflicting ex-parte orders in the matter involving removal of the former Chairman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party(PDP), Prince Uche Secondus are to lose their promotions and elevation into the appellate bench for period ranging from two to five years. They also received warning letters and were placed on the watch list of the National Judicial Council(NJC).

The affected judges are Justice Okogbule Gbasam of the High Court of Rivers State; Justice Nusirat I. Umar of the High Court of Kebbi State, and Justice Edem Ita Kooffreh of the High Court of Cross River State.

This was contained in a statement issued by the Council Director of Information, Soji Oye ,  at a the end of a meeting chaired by Justice Mary Odili,

Part of the statement reads: “The meeting which was chaired by the Deputy Chairman of Council, Hon. Justice Mary Peter-Odili, CFR agreed with the recommendations of the Investigation Committee set up in September 2021 that Hon. Justice Okogbule Gbasam of the High Court of Rivers State be barred from elevation to higher Bench for two years whenever he is due, as he failed to exercise due diligence in granting the ex-parte order in suit No: PHC/2183/CS/2021 between Ibealwuchi Earnest Alex & 4 others and Prince Uche Secondus & another, as there was no real urgency, in the circumstances of the matter, that would have required an ex-parte order. His Lordship is also issued with a warning letter to be circumspect in granting such ex-parte Orders in the future.

“Council also resolved that Hon. Justice Nusirat I. Umar of the High Court of Kebbi State be barred from elevation to higher Bench for two years whenever due, having found fundamental defects and non-compliance with the law in granting the ex-parte order in suit No: KB/HC/M.71/2021 between Yahaya Usman & 2 others and Prince Uche Secondus & another. He is also issued with a warning letter to be circumspect in granting such ex-parte orders in the future.

“Hon. Justice Edem Ita Kooffreh of the High Court of Cross River State will not be promoted to higher Bench for five years for allowing himself to be used as a tool for “forum shopping” and abuse of Court process in suit No: HC/240/2021 between Mr. Enang Kanum Wani and Uche Secondus, as it was evident that, in granting the ex-parte order, he had knowledge of earlier orders of the High Courts of Rivers and Kebbi States, being courts of coordinate jurisdiction with his. He is also to receive a warning letter to be circumspect in granting such ex-parte orders in the future. The council also placed him on its watch-list for a period of two years.”

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