Two of the Judges arrested by the Department of States Services, DSS few weeks ago, Justice Sylva Ngwuta and John Inyang Okoro, have withdrawn from sittings at the Supreme Court.
Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mahmud Mohammed, who revealed this during a meeting he held with a delegation of the Nigerian Bar Association in his chambers, said that the justices of the apex court will no longer preside over cases until their names have been cleared.
A source who was at the meeting said the CJN revealed that the justices voluntarily withdrew from sittings.
“The CJN said the DSS, which levelled allegations against the judges, had not presented any evidence against them to the NJC on which any possibility of suspending them could be based.
“But he said the two affected Justices of the Supreme Court had, on their own, refused (withdrawn) themselves from sitting until when they are able to clear their names.
“The CJN made it clear that the two Justices of the Supreme Court were not on suspension.”
The source also said both parties were able to understand each other’s position, even as they had previously differed on the suspension of the arrested judges.
The source said, “They were able to explain the positions they each took to each other more clearly.
“The CJN explained why the NJC could not suspend the affected judges in the absence of any evidence.
“The NBA president, on his part, also explained that he actually did not call for the suspension of the judges but that he only called on the affected judges to recuse themselves until they were able to clear their names.
“The NBA president said the association’s position was to save the institution because having judges with corruption allegations hanging over their heads or even arraigned for criminal offences still sitting, would cause a lot of collateral damage to the institution of the judiciary.
“But the NBA stuck to its condemnation of the procedure adopted by the DSS without recourse to the NJC.”