NJC sanctions Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia over misconduct
• Bars her from elevation
FOR alleged misconduct, National Judicial Council (NJC) yesterday sanctioned Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia of the Federal High Court, Lagos, and placed her on non-promotion list.
Being in the non-promotion list means she will not be considered for elevation to the Court of Appeal or included in any ad-hoc judicial appointment till her retirement from the Bench.
The decision is contained in a statement signed by the Acting Director, Information of the NJC, Soji Oye. The statement warned the judge and also placed her on its “watch list” for the next four years.
The NJC’s decision, taken at its meeting on February 24 and 25 under the Chairmanship of Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, was informed by findings that the judge was involved in misconduct and act of injustice.
According to the council, she failed to deliver judgment in a pre-election case and delayed her decision until the expiration of the tenure of the person whose qualification for election was being challenged.
Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia is not new to controversy. In 2013, she allegedly assaulted a clerical officer, Mr. Israel Okodugha, attached to her office with the victim’s father petitioning the Chief Judge.
The petition said sometime in the month of May 2013, at 4:15 p.m., Israel entered the chambers to inform his lordship that he wished to accompany members of staff bus home since the money on him would not be sufficient to carry him home that evening to Ikorodu by public transport.
The petition partly reads: “In the presence of female students, his lordship got up from the seat, went to Israel, grab his ears with her nails, pulled them and, in the process, inflicted pains on the ears and wounded him.
“He bled on the ear to the house that night. We had to take him to a nearby Pharmacy to give him analgesics after washing the wound with antiseptics. Before the incident, our son, Israel, was one of the members of staff her Lordship was using as house-keeper to scrub the toilet, wash her clothes, sweep and clean the house during official hours and even at weekends. This continued until Israel told her Lordship that he had to attend lectures on weekends.”
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