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National Judicial Council recommends probe of judge that gave self confessed looter the option of paying N750,000 for stealing N23 billion of pension funds
| February 25, 2013
The National Judicial Council (NJC), the supervising body of judges, has ruled that Justice Abubakar Thalba, the judge who gave a very light sentence of paying N750,000 ($4,800) to John Yakubu Yusufu after he had pleaded guilty to a three-count charge of looting N32.8 billion ($212m) from the police pension fund, should be probed. The judge said that he relied on the provision of section 309 of the Penal Code Act, which allows the option of a fine for the crime and sentenced him to two years imprisonment with an option of N750, 000 fine. The very light sentence generated immense outcry and various groups and organisations condemned the judgment. The council has also set up a ‘Fact Finding’ committee to investigate the allegations levelled against Justice Talba over his handling of the case. As part of its efforts to weed out corrupt judges, the NJC also placed two judges, Hon. Justice C. E. Archibong of the Federal High Court Lagos and Hon. Justice T.D. Naron of the Plateau State High Court, on suspension and recommended their compulsory retirement. The two judges were found guilty by different NJC committees that probed allegations of judicial misconduct that had been levelled against the judges by different petitioners. Justice Archibong was accused of violating his oath of office when he “dismissed grievous charges against an accused without taking his plea.” Justice Archibong had dismissed all the charges against the former Managing Director of Intercontinental Bank PLC, Mr. Erastus Akingbola and also restrained the prosecution from appearing before the court or another judge of the Federal High Court on the same issue. He also ordered the Attorney General of the Federation to disband the team of five SANs that prosecuted the case. Justice T. D. Naron was recommended for compulsory retirement based on the findings of the committee that there were constant and regular voice calls and exchange of SMS messages between jhim and a lead counsel for one of the parties (Oyinlola) to the suit in the Osun State Gubernatorial Election Tribunal contrary to the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria vide Section 292(1((b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended. During hearings on the 2007 Osun State Gubernatorial Election, Justice Naron had dismissed a petitioner’s claim and declared Oyinlola the winner of the 2007 governorship election in Osun. A Court of Appeal however later dismissed Oyinlola and declared Aregbesola the winner of the election. In its statement, the NJC said "The National Judicial Council under the Chairmanship of the Hon. Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Aloma Mariam Mukhtar, GCON, at its Emergency Meeting which was held on February 20, 2013 recommended the compulsory retirement of Hon. Justice C. E. Archibong of the Federal High Court Lagos and Hon. Justice T.D. Naron of High Court of Justice, Plateau State. “Hon. Justice Archibong was recommended for compulsory retirement to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, pursuant to the ‘Findings” by the Council on the following Complaints levelled against him" ...... "Hon. Justice T. D. Naron of High Court of Justice, Plateau State was recommended for compulsory retirement to Governor David Jonah Jang sequel to the ‘Findings’ by the Council that there were constant and regular voice calls and exchange of mms and sms messages between Hon. Justice Naron and one of the Lead Counsel for one of the parties to the Suit in the Osun State Gubernatorial Election Tribunal contrary to the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria vide Section 292(1((b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended."

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"The views and opinions expressed in these comment(s) or article(s) do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of NGEX, its partners or its affiliates."
Martins    Auchi, Nigeria    February 23, 2013
This reformation in the judiciary is a welcome development but, it should not only affect the lower court judges but should also be extented to judges in the appeal and supreme court
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