Judicial Council Denies Relinquishing Statutory Powers To Governors

The National Judicial Council rejected a letter that purported to show it had given state governors legal authority and responsibility for judge nominations and promotions.

The NJC said that neither the council nor the CJN, who acts as the council’s chairman, sent the letter that appeared to be written by Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, the top Justice of Nigeria, and addressed to the top judge of Kebbi State.

Soji Oye, the director of information for the NJC, said in a statement on Sunday that the fake letter was devoid of all truth.

The letter read in part; “The attention of the National Judicial Council has been drawn to a fake letter dated 14th July 2023, purported to have emanated from the Council, and signed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman, National Judicial Council Justice Olukayode Ariwoola.

“The fake letter stated that under section 10 of the existing law of Kebbi state 1996, His Excellency, the Governor, has the power to determine the Seniority of Judges and the National Judicial Council has no power to override or reverse the decision of His Excellency.

“It further stated that the office of the Head of Court or Chief Judge is purely a political appointment to be decided by the Governor of a state.

“For clarification and avoidance of doubt, the National Judicial Council hereby emphatically disclaimed the letter as there is no iota of truth in it and no such letter ever emanated from the office of the Chief Justice of Nigeria or the Council.”

He urged the citizens to discountenance the letter and its content.

“Meanwhile, the Council has reported the unfortunate case to the relevant security agencies with a view to investigate and bring to book whoever is behind this dastardly act,” the statement added.