The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has condemned the removal of the Chief Justice of Osun, Justice Adepele Ojo, by Governor Ademola Adeleke.
The condemnation is contained in a statement issued on Saturday by the National Publicity Secretary of the NBA, Akorede Lawal,
The NBA has threatened not to recognize referee Olayinka Afolabi, the acting chief referee appointed by Governor Adeleke.
Lawal said the NBA’s position is based on the constitutional doctrine of separation of powers and independence of the judiciary.
– The term of office of a bailiff cannot and should not depend on the mood of politicians – he added.
Lawal maintained that the Governor’s action not only constituted a denial of the principle of separation of powers, but also constituted a clear disregard of the court’s order.
Hel said the association unequivocally condemned the “unlawful” actions, adding that the provisions of the 1999 Constitution were not ambiguous as to the manner and manner of removal from office of the Chief Justice of the State.
“Since then, the case of Nganjiwa v. FRN (2017) LPELR-43391 (CA) has settled the law that any misconduct relating to the office and functions of a judicial officer must first be reported to and determined by the National Judicial Council (NJC).
“The Supreme Court in Elelu-Habeeb & Anor v AG Federation & Ors (2012) 12 NWLR (Pt 1318) 423 made it clear that the Chief Justice of a State cannot be removed under any circumstances, including the infamous “step aside” style ”without approaching the NJC,” Lawal said.
According to Lawal, the NBA is concerned that in taking its action, the Osun government has chosen to ignore the lawful interim order issued by the Ibadan-based National Industrial Court.
“The interim injunction restrained the Osun Governor from interfering with the office of the Chief Justice of Osun State.
“All court decisions must be respected and applied until overturned by a competent higher court,” the NBA spokesman added.
Lawal, therefore, said the NBA will not recognize Judge Afolabi as the acting referee of Osun.
Recall that former Chief Justice Ojo was removed by Governor Adeleke over allegations of misconduct, abuse of power, corruption and disregard for the rule of law.