Tuesday 13 June 2023

Plot to retire Osun CJ prematurely revealed...SAN raises concern

Chief Judge of Osun State, Justice Adepele Ojo

An Ibadan-based lawyer, Yomi Alliyu (SAN), has raised concerns over alleged plans to force the Chief Judge of Osun State, Justice Adepele Ojo, into retirement, just after President Bola Tinubu has signed a bill increasing high court judges retirement age to 70.

It was learnt that Justice Ojo was initially due for retirement in October this year when she will clock 65.

She was said to be preparing for her exit, before the President last week signed into law, a bill that harmonised the retirement age of high court judges and their counterparts on the appeal and Supreme courts’ benches.

In a statement on Monday, Alliyu, who hails from Ede in Osun State, alleged that Governor Ademola Adeleke, also an Ede indigene, had already requested the retirement letter of the CJ from the State Head of Service.

The SAN said, “Osun State Head of service requested for the letter of retirement of the Chief Judge of Osun State from the Secretary to the Osun State Judicial Service Commission notwithstanding the current amendment to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) commanding him to bring it to his office.

“The HoS said he was acting on Governor Nurudeen Adeleke’s instructions. After the said JSC Secretary had waited in the office of the said HoS for hours and seeing that people had seen him there, the HoS asked the said Secretary to meet him at a road junction in Osogbo and they were seen together by witnesses who alerted the CJ to the ungodly meeting.

“The CJ, as the Chairman of Osun JSC, summoned the Secretary, JSC to her presence and asked what he was doing in both HoS office and road junction meeting. The Secretary had no choice but to tell the CJ that the HoS said the governor asked him to go and collect the CJ’s letter of retirement from JSC, hence his summoning him to his office and road junction!

“They didn’t know that I was the Jagunmolu of Edeland. Now they didn’t also know that the constitution has been amended, extending terms of judges of superior courts to 70 years. Constitutional war is brewing in Osun State! Some judges are bound to meet early retirement if they bow to temptation from the executive to act in a position that has constitutional flavour!”

But reacting to the allegation, spokesperson for the governor, Olawale Rasheed, described Alliyu as an agent of the All Progressive Congress, and accused him of raising false allegations against the government.

Rasheed said, “For the sake of clarity, the present administration enjoys a very warm and harmonious relationship with the judiciary as against the pseudo-acrimony being peddled by Mr Alliyu. Governor Adeleke is paying special attention to the welfare of judicial officers in the state as against the ridicule to which the past administration unleashed on the judges by irregular payment of their arrears and allowances and by not attending to the pecuniary benefits of the retired judges.

“Members of the public need to be informed that there is no controversy on the processes of disengagement or otherwise even with respect to the old and new law on the retirement age for judges of superior courts. All insinuations in the hatchet job are false and figments of imagination of the propagandist.”


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