Yahaya Bello loses bid to remove Kogi state Chief Judge

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The Kogi State High Court, sitting in Koton-Karfe, has ruled that Governor Yahaya Bello and the State House of Assembly jointly or unilaterally, cannot remove the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Nasir Ajanah, without recourse to the National Judicial Council (NJC).

In its ruling on Friday, the court also declared that the Chief Registrar of the State High Court held a statutory position as the accounting officer of the judiciary and was, therefore, not subject to the control and supervision of either the executive or the legislature.

The presiding judge, Justice Alaba Omolaye-Ajileye noted that it is the NJC established under section 153(I) of the constitution (as amended) that has the power to recommend to the governor, the removal of a judicial officer where a Chief Judge of a state is to be removed, for whatever reason.

He stressed that it is the NJC, and not the state House of Assembly that is empowered to make recommendations to the governor of a state under item 21(d) of the third schedule to the constitution.

The judge stated this in his judgment on the suit filed against the Assembly, Governor and three others by Justice Ajanah and the Chief Registrar, Yahya Adamu.

The Kogi State House of Assembly, Speaker of the House, Bello Abdullahi, Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee, Governor Yahaya Bello and the state’s Attorney-General are named as respondents in the suit with number HC/KK. 11CV/2018.

Justice Omolaye-Ajileye said he found merit in the action and all the declarations sought are allowed while granting all the reliefs and declarations sought by the claimants in the suit.