Tuesday 14 October 2014

Ekiti Crisis: National Judicial Council directs Ekiti Chief Judge to reopen courts

The National Judicial Council has directed the Chief Judge of Ekiti State, Justice Ayodele Daramola, to announce the re-opening of the courts in the state following the crisis that rocked the state judiciary on September 22 and 25.

A source, who attended the meeting disclosed on Thursday, that the crisis in the Ekiti State judiciary was part of the issues deliberated upon by the NJC at the opening of its periodical meetings on Monday.

The meeting, which was presided by its Chairman, who is also the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloma Mukhtar, is to continue and end on Tuesday.

“The Ekiti Chief Judge was in attendance. But the major crisis in the state has been deliberated upon at the emergency meeting of the council on October 2. So the council asked the CJ to go ahead and announce the reopening of the courts,” the source said.

Following this, the Chief Judge is expected to announce the reopening of the courts later in the week.

Justice Daramola had ordered the closure of the courts following the repeated attacks on the court by political thugs.

But security agencies comprising soldiers, police and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps had taken over the premises of the Ado Ekiti High Court and the Court of Appeal since October 7.

The NJC had, at its emergency meeting on October 2, asked the Inspector-General of Police, Suleiman Abba, to “take over” the investigation on the attack on judges in Ekiti State and ensure that the culprits were brought to justice.

The council, also at the meeting presided over by Justice Mukhtar, asked Abba to provide adequate protection for the judges in the state.

A statement by the council’s Acting Director of Information Unit, Mr. Soji Oye, said the council condemned in strong terms the attacks on the court on September 22 and 25, 2014.

The NJC’s emergency meeting on Thursday followed the petition by the Chief Judge of Ekiti State, Justice Ayodeji Daramola, to both the NJC and the Commissioner of Police in the state, alleging that the state’s Governor-elect, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, was the one who led the thugs that attacked the court.

Crisis in the state judiciary started on September 22, when political thugs invaded the Ekiti State High Court presided over by Justice Olusegun Ogunyemi to disrupt proceedings in a case challenging the eligibility of Fayose, to contest the June 21 election, which he won.

The thugs had invaded the court shortly after the judge refused an application to set aside an order abridging the time for Fayose to file his defence in the case instituted by two members of the Ekiti-11, Mr. Adeniyi Ajakaiye and Olufemi Ajayi.

On September 25, another judge, Justice John Adeyeye, was beaten by some political thugs who also tore his suit into shreds.

The latest invasion disrupted the proceedings of the Ekiti State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal where Fayemi and the All Progressives Congress were challenging Fayose’s victory.

Credit: Ade Adesomoju/PunchNews

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