The Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice P.H.C. Agumagu, has sued the National Judicial Council (NJC) and three others over his suspension and threat to sack him as a judge.
In a suit he filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja, the suspended judge was challenging NJC’s decision to suspend him and praying the court to restrain members of an investigation panel set up to investigate the allegations against him from taking any further steps in respect of his case until the determination of the suit he filed.
Sued with NJC in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/253/2014 were Justices Babatunde Adejumo, Jubril Idris and Comwell Idahosa (chairman and members of the panel set up by the NJC to investigate allegations against the applicant (Justice Agumagu).
To this end, he prayed the court for “an order of certiorari, removing to this court for the purpose of being quashed the query and letter of suspension from office of the applicant as a judicial officer, Ref. No. NJC /S.32/RV.CCA/1/1/36 dated March 26, 2014 written by the first respondent to the applicant.”
The applicant also sought “an order of certiorari, removing to this court for the purpose of being quashed, the minutes of the decisions reached by the 1st respondent at its emergency meeting of March 26, 2014 concerning the applicant.”
Justice Adeniyi Ademola, before whom the case was pending, on Monday, heard an ex-parte application by the applicant and granted him leave to serve processes on the respondents. He adjourned till April 10 for hearing.
The NJC announced on March 27 that it first not accord any recognition to the newly appointed Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice Agumagu.
The council said itwould not deal with him in that capacity and also elected to suspend him as a judge.
It equally issued Justice Agumagu a query, directing him to explain in writing, within four days, why he should not be removed from office as a judge for his alleged failure to abide by his oath of office to uphold the constitution and laws of the country.
NJC, at its emergency meeting held the previous day, concluded that due process was not observed in Justice Agumagu’s appointment.
NJC’s acting director, Information, Soji Oye, said in a statement that “at its 10th emergency meeting, which was held on March 26, 2014, the National Judicial Council, under the chairmanship of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloma Mariam Muktar, considered the purported appointment, confirmation and swearing-in of Justice P. N. C. Agumagu as the substantive Chief Judge of Rivers State on March 18, 2014 illegal.’’