Nigeria’s Federal High Court Chief Judge, Justice Ibrahim Auta, has redeployed about 11 justices of different divisions of the court.
Those affected include Justices Mohammed Liman, Okon Abang and nine others.
The redeployment of Liman and Abang is suspected to have been effected over their handling of some recent cases, especially those involving the leadership of the troubled Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which had created controversy within the polity.
Justice Abang of the Abuja Division, whose popularity has continued to soar following perceived controversial rulings he has been dishing out recently, is redeployed from Abuja to Asaba Division, Delta State, while Justice Liman, is redeployed from Port Harcourt Division, Rivers State, to Enugu Division.
Liman, another prominent judge, was among judges the Department of State Security (DSS) accused of taking bribes and wanted to arrest but was blocked by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State,
Other judges redeployed include Justice S. Saidu (from Lagos to Port Harcourt); Justice A.O. Faji (Asaba to Lagos); Justice R. M. Aikawa (Sokoto to Lagos); Justice B.O. Quadri (Port Harcourt to Abuja); and Justice Mallong Hoommuk (Port Harcourt to Lafia).
The rest are Justice K.K. Dagat (moved from Lagos to Kano); Justice Saleh Idrissa (from Kano to Sokoto); Justice H.I.O. Oshomah (Lafia to Port Harcourt) and Justice J.K. Omotosho (from Kano to Port Harcourt).
It was gathered that their redeployment was contained in a circular by the Chief Judge which was dated December 21, 2016 and addressed to all Judges of Federal High Court directing the affected judges to begin work at their new divisions by January 30.
Although the circular did not specifically say why they were being moved, it reportedly cited ‘recent developments in the courts’, as the reason for the postings.
But there are strong speculations that the developments may not be unconnected with the conflicting judgments given by a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State and an Abuja Federal High Court presided over by Justice Abang, in the leadership tussle involving PDP’s Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and Senator Ahmed Makarfi over who is the authentic leader of the party.
The handling of the case involving PDP Ondo State governorship candidate between Jimoh Ibrahim and Eyitayo Jegede in the recently concluded election in the state, the case between Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State and Uche Ogah and some others, which many believe were embarrassments to the Nigerian Judiciary, are also suspected to have influenced the decision of the Federal High Court Chief Judge.
The circular however noted that the postings would not affect the criminal cases the affected judges are currently handling.
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