An Abuja Federal High Court has fixed May 5 to hear a suit filed by the Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice P.H.C Agumagu, to challenge his suspension by the National Judicial Council.
Justice Adeniyi Ademola fixed the date when the matter came up on Thursday.
Besides the NJC, other respondents in the suit are Justices Babatunde Adejumo, Jubril Idris and Conwell Idahosa, who are members of the panel set up by the NJC to investigate Justice Agumagu.
During the proceedings, the NJC drew the court’s attention to a letter said to be written to it by Justice Agumagu’s lawyer, Chief Akin Olujinmi, SAN, which gave the impression that the court had stayed the embattled CJ’s suspension.
In the letter, the NJC was informed that the court granted, “an order pursuant to Order 34 rule 3(6) of the Rules of the Federal High Court, directing that the grant of leave shall operate as a stay of proceedings or any further actions by the respondents in respect of the investigation of the applicant for which the 1st respondent has set up the panel of the 2nd to 4th respondents (Justices Adejumo, Idris and Idahosa) until the court otherwise orders.”
But the court explained that it did not stay Justice Agumagu’s suspension.
The hearing had to be adjourned after counsel to Justice Adejumo informed the court that he had not been served with the motion on notice.
Justice Agumagu had dragged the NJC to court to challenge his suspension, as well as the Council’s threat to sack him for accepting the appointment as the state Chief Judge.
Justice Agumagu asked the court to restrain members of an investigation panel set up to investigate the allegations against him from taking any further steps in respect of his case until the determination of the suit.
The suspended CJ wants the court to quash the query and letter of suspension from office as a judicial officer, Ref. No. NJC /S.32/RV.CCA/1/1/36, dated March 26, 2014, which was forwarded to him by the NJC.
In the same vein, he also asked the court to quash the minutes of the decisions reached by the NJC at its emergency meeting of March 26, 2014.
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