The National Judicial Council (NJC) announced on Thursday its recommendation for the compulsory retirement of Justice S. O. Falola, a judge in the Osun State High Court. The decision followed an investigation that found Justice Falola guilty of granting a Garnishee Order Absolute against Polaris Bank for the sum of N283,174,000.00 in a questionable manner.
According to the statement by the NJC’s Director of Information, Adesoji Oye, the investigation committee discovered that Justice Falola had traveled to Lagos to visit the bank’s counsel in his chambers regarding Garnishee Proceedings, a conduct deemed unprofessional.
The statement read, “The National Judicial Council under the Chairmanship of Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, GCON, at its 104th Meeting of December 6 and 7, 2023, has recommended the compulsory retirement of Hon. Justice S. O. Falola of Osun State High Court from the Bench.”
The investigation committee further found fault with the judge for endorsing the order and attaching the account of the Garnishee with another Garnishee, instead of the account of the judgment debtor responsible for the supposed judgment sum.
The NJC recommended the compulsory retirement of Justice Falola to the Osun State Governor, Ademola Adeleke, with immediate effect. Additionally, the council suspended Justice Falola from office pending the governor’s approval of the retirement recommendation.
In another development, the NJC declined a request from Governor Adeleke to swear in the next most senior judge in an acting capacity following allegations against Hon. Justice Adepele Ojo, Chief Judge of Osun State, and the state House of Assembly’s resolution to suspend him. The council affirmed Justice Ojo as the recognized Chief Judge of Osun State and stated it would not act based on the resolution of a State House of Assembly.
The NJC also dismissed petitions against several other judicial officers, including Justice Ekaete F. F. Obot (Chief Judge, Akwa Ibom State), Hon. Justice Benson C. Anya (High Court, Abia State), Hon. Justice Z. B. Abubakar (Federal High Court), Hon. Justice Opufaa Ben-Whyte, and Augusta Uche K. Chuku (High Court, Rivers State), citing the petitions as unmeritorious or withdrawn by the petitioners.
The council received 51 fresh petitions against federal and state judicial officers and constituted 11 panels to investigate petitions deemed to have merits.