By Iliya Kure
The Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, has asked the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), to initiate disciplinary action against a Judge of the Upper Area Court that recently issued a criminal summons against a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof. Charles Soludo.
The judge, Gambo Garba, who presides over the Upper Area Court at Zuba, had on August 23, issued a direct criminal Summons against Prof. Soludo over a case of alleged perjury, corruption and failure to declare his assets while serving as the CBN governor between 29 May , 2004 and 29 May , 2009.
Mr Soludo, is presently the governorship candidate of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the forthcoming election in Anambra State, southeast Nigeria.
It was gathered that the complainant, Oliver Bitrus, had alleged that Mr Soludo held the CBN governor’s office flagrantly violating the Code of Conduct for public officers by buying property not attributable to his legitimate earnings.
Mr. Bitrus among other things, alleged that Prof. Soludo had within the period, through a proxy, acquired a property known and described as No. 50 Brondesbury Park, London, NW6 7AT, United Kingdom.
A top source told a Nigerian Journalist that “from all indications, the Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman National Judicial Council, Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, seems determined to put an end to impunity and misconduct in the Judiciary.
“Charges bordering on false declaration of assets are 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”, the source said.
The informant said, the CJN was concerned that issues raised in the complaints in respect of which the Upper Area Court judge issued the direct criminal summons against Mr Soludo were completely outside the jurisdiction of the Court.
Last week, Muhammad had met with the chief judges of the FCT, Rivers, Kebbi, Cross River, Jigawa, Anambra and Imo states and directed some of them to admonish the judges in their jurisdictions on the danger of granting ex parte injunctions.
Incidentally, some of the court orders had to do with Prof. Soludo’s candidacy and his party, APGA, in the forthcoming governorship elections in Anambra State.
Acting Chief Judge of the FCT, Hussein Baba Yusuf, who is Chairman of JSC, is expected to submit his findings to the CJN within 21 days.