Kogi High Court Nullifies Assembly Resolution Recommending Removal of Kogi Chief Judge

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A High Court in Kogi sitting in Koton-Karfe on Thursday set aside and nullified the April 2nd resolution of the state House of Assembly calling for removal of the state Chief Judge, Justice Nasir Ajanah, for gross misconduct.

Justice Nasiru Ajanah

The court also set aside the resolution of the House in the recommending Alhaji Yahaya Adamu, Chief Registrar of the state High Court, to the state Judicial Service Commission (JSC) for disciplinary action for gross misconduct.

Justice Alaba Omolaye-Aiileye, the High Court Judge quashed the resolution in his ruling on Motion NO. HC/KK02M/201 in the SUIT NO. HC/KK/11CV/2018 brought by the Chief Judge, Ajanah and Chief Registrar of the state High Court, Alhaji Yahaya Adamu.

Omolaye-Aiileye said he had come to the “irresistible conclusion” that the resolution of the House arising from its sitting of April 2nd, recommending removal or stepping aside of the Chief Judge for gross misconduct must not be allowed to stand.

He said that the resolution having been reached in “clear violation of the orders of this court, it is, accordingly hereby set aside and declared a nullity.”

The judge further set aside and declared a nullity in the same vein, the recommendation of the Chief Registrar, Adamu, to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) for disciplinary action over alleged gross misconduct.

He said that the Kogi state House of Assembly is subject to the rule of law and it is required to obey and not break the law.

“With the positive orders of this court made on 13th of December, 2018 and reinforced on 18th December, 2018, Kogi State House of Assembly ought not to have done anything to give the impression that it was trying to pre-empt the decision of this court”, he said.

“It is tragic that the respondents whose primary responsibility is to make laws for the peace, order and good government of Kogi State would be the same institution to be associated with violation of court orders.”

The jurist said it was his considered view that the action of the House in sitting on the matter and issuing a resolution for effect, was “a blatant and an impudent act which ought not to be tolerated or encouraged in a democratic setting.

“It was an audacious and arbitrary display of naked power, an act that is contrary to all constitutional and democratic tenets.”

The applicants, Justice Nasir Ajanah, the Chief Judge of Kogi State and Alhaji Yahaya Adamu, the Chief Registrar of the High Court of Justice of Kogi State, approached the court by way of an interlocutory application.

They prayed for an order nullifying and setting aside the resolution passed by the House at its sitting on 2nd April, 2019.

It was alleged in the motion paper that the House acted upon a report submitted to it by its Public Accounts Committee and resolved,
amongst others, that the Chief Judge be removed for alleged gross misconduct.

The resolution also directed that the Chief Registrar of the state High Court (2nd applicant) be referred to the state Judicial Service Commission (JSC) for disciplinary action over same allegation.

The application was predicated upon the sole ground that the resolution of the House was passed in violation of subsisting orders of this court.

The court had on 12th December, 2018, in its ruling on application brought by the claimants/applicants granted an order of interim injunction restraining the respondents from taking any step in respect of the substantive matter pending the determination of the Motion on Notice.

The court had on April 12, adjourned sine die, ruling on the motion as the court abruptly shut down during a two-hour stand down following sudden withdrawal of police personnel from the court.

Omolaye-Aiileye had said that with deteriorating security situation from the sudden withdrawal of police personnel from the court and the intelligence reports reaching him, it was no longer safe for the court to sit and therefore, adjourned indefinitely.

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