In a resolute response, the National Judicial Council (NJC) has categorically dismissed a widely circulated letter that claimed the council had relinquished its statutory powers and functions related to the appointment and promotion of judges to state governors.
Soji Oye, the Director of Information at the NJC, unequivocally declared that the letter, purportedly dated July 14, 2023, and seemingly signed by Olukayode Ariwoola, the Chief Justice of Nigeria and NJC chairman, was entirely baseless.
The NJC refuted the claims presented in the letter, which outlined the appointment of Umar Abubakar as the substantive Chief Judge of Kebbi State while addressing the order of seniority. The council emphasized that the letter in question did not originate from their office and that the information it contained was unfounded.
To prevent any misconceptions, the NJC issued a statement clarifying the matter and disavowing the letter’s authenticity.
“The fake letter titled ‘Order of Seniority of Judges of the High Court of Kebbi state and recommendation of Justice Umar Abubakar as the substantive chief judge of Kebbi state’, addressed to the chief judge, stating that ‘under section 10 of the existing law of Kebbi state 1996, His Excellency, the governor, has the power to determine seniority of judges and the NJC has no power to override or reverse the decision of His Excellency.
“It further stated that the office of the head of court/chief judge is purely a political appointment to be decided by the governor of a state.
“For the purpose of clarification and avoidance of doubt, the NJC 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.
“The public is hereby advised to discountenance the letter and its content,”. The statement said.
Soji Oye further informed the public that the council had initiated actions to address the issue appropriately. The NJC has taken the step of involving relevant security agencies to investigate the origin of the fraudulent letter and hold responsible parties accountable.
As the matter continues to unfold, the NJC’s swift response underscores its commitment to transparency and the maintenance of its rightful role in the appointment and promotion of judges, safeguarding the integrity of Nigeria’s judicial system.