Activist petitions Delta gov over nomination of judge accused of child trafficking, but NJC says he has been cleared

 A HUMAN rights activist, Ighorhiohwunu Aghogho, has asked the Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, not to confirm Emmanuel Zimi Dolor’s nomination as judge in the state judiciary, alleging that the nominee supervised the sales of several innocent children.

The new judge’s appointment followed recommendations by the National Judicial Council (NJC) after its 91st meeting held online to the Delta State governor and the state House of Assembly, seeking approval and appointment of Dolor and four others as judges.

The NJC meeting was chaired by Justice Tanko Mohammed, Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).

In a petition signed by Aghogho and obtained by The ICIR on Monday, the activist stated that the action of NJC  was unprofessional and a gross violation of the Section 153 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) that set it up because “Emmanuel Zimi Dolor Esq was among the judicial officers/workers supposedly to be under investigation by NJC in a petition dated 31/12/18 and 7/10/19 respectively.”

But the National Judicial Council (NJC), which recommended Dolor for confirmation as a judge, said it cleared him of all the allegations against him before forwarding his name for the position.

In a letter dated September 23, 2019, signed by Ahmed Gambo Saleh, Secretary of the Council on behalf of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) addressed to Aghogho in response to his petitions dated December 31, 2018, and January 7, 2019, to the CNJ, the Council said the allegations were investigated and were found to be frivolous and baseless.

Corroborating this, a top official of the NJC who did not want to be named told our reporter that the Council’s Interview Committee looked into all the allegations and found no merit in them.

He argued that the petitions were considered before the appointment was made, saying ” they were dismissed otherwise they wouldn’t have considered him.”

“They have written against him before and the matter has been looked into and it was found to be frivolous, that there was nothing like that,” the NJC official added.

In his fresh petition to Governor Okowa against the confirmation of the judge nominee, Aghogho alleged that using his position as Chief Registrar High Court of Justice Asaba, Dolor had been involved in the massive disappearance of thousands of innocent children from the state.

According to him, on April 18, 2019, while the nominee was Chief Registrar of the  High Court in  Asaba, he  “unethically” issued letters exonerating the state Chief Judge, Justice Umukoro, and dismissed a petition before the NJC and the Chief Justice of Nigeria bothering on alleged child trafficking and illegal adoption of children by the Delta State judiciary.

Aghogho in the petition further alleged that Dolor also issued a letter dated April 20, 2018, constituting additional family courts in Delta State during the pendency of NJC investigation into the child trafficking allegation.

He said the trafficking of the children was done through the Family Court of the Warri Magisterial District constituted during the pendency of the NJC investigation, which he observed is still ongoing.

The children, Aghogho alleged, were sold through the court via unlawful applications filed by one Valentine Uzama , a staff of the Delta State Ministry of Women Affairs through a ghost “Probation Office” not known to law. He stated that the alleged ghost office “was ably represented in the said court proceedings with suit number MW/3/FC/18, MW/4/FC/18, MW/5/FC/18 respectively”.

“That it is upon these grounds, we are hereby put Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and the entire Delta State House of Assembly on notice not to fall into the antics of NJC in approving the recommendation of Emmanuel Zimi Dolor Esq aka E.Z.Idolor Esq as a Judge of the Delta State Judiciary,” the petitioner said.

“We will resist all forms of coercion in whatever guise in paving ways for child thieves in controlling the Delta State Judiciary in order to felicitate and encourage child trafficking in the state.”

When contacted for his reaction, Emmanuel Zimi was not available for comments as of the time of filing this report.

Calls put through to his mobile phone were not answered, just as both SMS and messages sent to him on WhatsApp were not replied, though he was shown to be online for a long time.

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