By Folake Oye
The National Judicial Council has recommended the compulsory retirement of a judge of the Osun State High Court Justice Sakariyah Oyejide Falola.
The decision was reached at the 104th NJC Meeting chaired by Justice Olukayode Ariwoola between December 6 and 7, 2023, in Abuja.
The NJC said Justice Falola was found guilty of granting a garnishee order absolute against Polaris Bank for the sum of N283,174,000.00 in a questionable manner.
A statement by the Director of Information, NJC, Adesoji Oye, said the investigation committee found that Falola travelled to Lagos to visit the counsel to the bank on the issue of garnishee proceedings, an action it described as unprofessional.
The NJC spokesman said the Council had recommended that Governor Ademola Adeleke of Osun State compulsorily retire Justice Falola.
He noted that the NJC had suspended Falola from office pending the approval of the recommendation of his compulsory retirement by Governor Adeleke.
Oye said, “The National Judicial Council, under the Chairmanship of Hon. Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, GCON, at its 104th Meeting of 6 and 7 December 2023, has recommended the compulsory retirement of Honourable Justice S. O. Falola of the Osun State High Court from the bench.
“The recommendation was made sequel to the findings of an investigation committee in a petition written against His Lordship by Mr. Dapo Kolapo Olowo and Polaris Bank for granting a garnishee order absolute against the bank for the sum of N283,174,000.00 questionably and strangely, and endorsement of the order, attaching the account of the garnishee with another garnishee and not the account of the judgment debtor, who had the legal obligation to pay the supposed judgment sum.
“It further found the conduct of the subject judge, travelling to Lagos to visit the counsel for the bank in his chambers on the issue of garnishee proceedings, unbecoming of the standard expected of a judicial officer.”
In a related development, the National Judicial Council has rejected the request of Osun State Governor, Senator Ademola Adeleke to appoint the next most senior judge in the state, Justice David Olayinka Afolabi, in an acting capacity.
This decision follows allegations against the state’s Chief Judge, Justice Oyebola Adepele Ojo and the resolution of the State House of Assembly to suspend her.
The NJC, which affirmed Justice Ojo as the recognized Chief Judge of Osun State, also rejected the resolution of the Osun State Assembly.
This decision was outlined in a statement signed by the NJC Director of Information, Soji Oye.
The Council, emphasizing its constitutional authority to investigate Judicial Officers and recommend actions to the Governor, directed Osun State to return to the status quo.
“Council considered and declined the request of Governor Ademola Adeleke of Osun State to swear in the next Most Senior Judge in the State in an acting capacity, following allegations against Hon. Justice Adepele Ojo, Chief Judge, Osun State, and the resolution of the State House of Assembly to suspend him.
“The Council affirmed that Hon. Justice Ojo is still the recognized Chief Judge of Osun State and would not act on the resolution of a State House of Assembly. Consequently, Osun State should revert to the status quo.”