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NJC suspends judge, recommends sack

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‎The National Judicial Council, NJC, has suspended a High Court judge, Justice B.T Ebuta, while also recommending his sack.

The judge, serving with the Cross River State judiciary, was recommended to be retired from service partly for granting an order based on an ex parte motion without sitting.

This was disclosed by the Acting Director of  Information of NJC, Mr. Soji Oye, in a statement in Abuja on Friday.

According to Oye, the NJC, under the chairmanship of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, recommended the compulsory retirement of the judge  to the Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, at its 76th meeting which  held on June 1 and 2, 2016‎.

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He also added ‎that the council had placed Justice Ebuta on suspension from office with immediate effect pending the approval of the recommendation of the Council by the Governor of Cross River State.

Ebuta was said to have been sanctioned over the “the allegations of abuse of judicial power, suppression, illegal and forceful takeover of a property in Calabar as contained in the petition written against him by Dr. (Mrs) Ekanem Cobham.”

The order which the judge allegedly made without sitting in court was  to unseal Cobham’s property which was sealed on the order of a Magistrate Court when her tenant, Mr. Ugochukwu Chijioke, failed to pay rent for two years.

The NJC said in the statement: “Council investigated the allegations and found out that they were all true.

“The allegation constitutes misconduct contrary to Section 292(1)(b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended and Rules 1.3 and 3.5 of the 2016 Revised Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“In the meantime, the National Judicial Council has in the exercise of its disciplinary powers under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, suspended Hon. Justice B. T. Ebuta from office with immediate effect pending the approval of the recommendation of the Council for His Lordship’s compulsory retirement by the Governor of Cross River State.”‎

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