SaharaReporters has learned that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the compulsory retirement from office, with immediate effect, of Hon. Justice Lambo Akanbi of the Federal High Court, Port-Harcourt Division.
On Wednesday Soji Oye, the Acting Director of Information of the NJC, issued a press statement in Abuja that noted that President Buhari's action was based on a recommendation made by the NJC at its 74th meeting earlier this month following the various allegations levelled against the judge by Shell Petroleum Company Nigeria Limited.
The allegations against Justice Akanbi in the Shell petition include:
•Unilaterally appointing Mr. Emeka Nkwo of CYN-JAC (NIG) LTD who was not proposed by any of the parties as referee or valuer in Suit Nos FHC/PH/CS/434/2012 and FHC/PH/CS/435/2012. He also appointed the same referee or valuer in Suit FHC/PH/CS/25/2003, which is another matter involving one of the parties in the first suit.
•Hearing and concluding the case without dealing with the Notice of Preliminary Objection on the Jurisdiction of his Court.
•Sitting on the case in the Federal High Court, Yenagoa in Suit FHC/YNG/CS/30/2013 after a new judge had been transferred to the State without a fiat from the Hon. Chief Judge of the Federal High Court.
•Delivering the ruling in Suit No FHC/PH/CS/07/2009 four months after final addresses were taken without any cogent reason, contrary to the constitutional provisions that judgment should be delivered within a period of 90 days.
•Dismissing the application to set aside the report prepared by the valuer, CYN – JAC (NIG) LTD, and later changing the ruling to judgement, which prevented the respondent from pursuing the application for stay of proceedings at the Court of Appeal.
•Failing to give a copy of his ruling, delivered on 12th June 2013, to the complainant until 28th June 2013.
The statement said that in the exercise of its constitutional powers, at its November meetings, the NJC suspended Justice Akanbi from office prior to the approval of his compulsory retirement by President Buhari.