The National Judicial Council, NJC, led by Honourable Justice Aloma Muktar, Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, has announced the suspension of Honourable Justice P.N.C. Agumagu, Chief Judge of Rivers State as a judicial officer with immediate effect.
The NJC kicked against the appointment, confirmation and swearing–in of Agumagu as the substantive Chief Judge of Rivers State.
A statement signed by Soji Oye, director, Information, NJC, says the Council, after its 10th Emergency Meeting resolved that, “it does not and will not recognize” Agumagu as the Chief Judge of Rivers.
The council hinged its resolution on the provisions in Section 271 (1) of the Constitution that the “appointment of a person to the office of the chief judge of a state shall be made by the governor of the state under the recommendation of the National Judicial Council, subject to the appointment by the House of Assembly of the State.”
The statement said the NJC did not at any time make any recommendation to Rotimi Amaechi, Rivers State governor, that Agumagu, president, Customary Court of Appeal be appointed as the substantive Chief Judge of River State.
Therefore, as part of the resolutions issued at the end of the meeting, NJC notified the general public and other concerned authority, particularly the governor that the Council will not deal with Agumagu as the Chief Judge of River State.
The NJC also issued a query to Agumagu to explain in writing within four days, why he should not be removed from office as a judicial officer for his failure to abide by his oath of office to uphold the Constitution and Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Agamugu was sworn in on March 18, 2014 by the Rivers State governor, despite warnings from the NJC and the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, that he is not the most senior judge in Rivers State following the retirement of the former Chief Judge of the state.