Reps amend constitution to give NJC more powers

The House of Representatives has decided to amend section 292 of the Nigerian Constitution to include the National Judicial Council (NJC) in the procedure of removing heads of courts or any judicial officer in the country.

This is to bridge the lacuna noticed in the section, which does not give any role to the NJC in the exercise.

In the proposed amendments, recommendations of the NJC which is a body that plays critical roles in the appointment and supervision of judicial officers, must be considered in their removal.

Garba Datti Muhammad, sponsor of the proposed amendment said the move was to update the state of the provision and avoid victimization.

“The purpose is to ensure consistency in the removal of judicial personnel and to ensure certainty in the law by taking the issue out of uncertain realm of judicial construction.” Datti Muhammad stressed.

In February 2012 the Supreme Court of Nigeria in a unanimous ruling reinstated Justice Raliat Elelu-Habeeb as the Chief Judge of Kwara State, following her unceremonious removal from office in 2009, saying that the State Governor as at then, Dr. Bukola Saraki has no power to remove the Chief Judge without recourse to NJC.

Justice Mahmud Mohammed who delivered the judgement of a 7-member panel of justices said that the council (NJC) is equipped with the personnel and resources to investigate the inability of the chief judge to discharge the functions of his office and the subject of disciplinary action of removal through the committees of the council.