The National Judicial Council, NJC, has finally bowed to overwhelming pressure from various quarters and has suspended the seven senior judges facing allegations of corruption.
The Judges were arrested in October by the Department of State Services, DSS, and later released.
The NJC had initially said it will not suspend the judges, saying that the DSS had not even furnished it with details of the allegations against them. The council however said the judges had voluntarily stepped down from court sittings.
But after the NJC’s 7th meeting held between Wednesday and Thursday, the council issued a communiqué to the effect that the judges have been suspended.
Soji Oye, the NJC’s Director of Information, said in the communiqué that the decision was taken in order not to allow persons under investigation take part in presiding over judicial matters at the same time.
The communiqué read in part: “Council also decided that Judicial Officers shall not be standing trial for alleged corruption related offences and be performing judicial functions at the same time.
“Council however decided that it will ensure that Judicial Officers who are being investigated for alleged high profile criminal offences do not perform judicial functions until their cases are concluded.”
The raid and arrest of the seven justices in October 7 had generated lots of controversy and had pitted the judiciary against the executive arm of government.
Some of the affected justices have also accused some high profile cabinet members, notably the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, of orchestrating their ordeal.
They claimed Amaechi was haunting them for turning down his request for them to influence some electoral cases in favour of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.