The Speaker of the Osun State House of Assembly, Adewale Egbedun, has provided justification for the suspension of the Chief Judge (CJ) of the state, Justice Oyebola Adepele Ojo.
Despite facing criticism from various quarters, including the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), civil society organizations, and other prominent personalities, the speaker defended the decision taken by the Assembly.
Justice Ojo’s suspension resulted in the Assembly directing Governor Ademola Adeleke to swear in Justice David Olayinka Afolabi as the Acting CJ.
However, some civil society organizations have condemned the action and called for the immediate revocation of the suspension.
In response to these criticisms, the speaker, through his Chief Press Secretary, Olamide Tiamiyu, issued a statement emphasizing that the Osun State House of Assembly did not intend to overstep its constitutional boundaries or interfere with the National Judicial Council’s (NJC) duties.
He explained that the Assembly was fulfilling its constitutional obligation to expose corruption, as stipulated in Section 128 (2) (b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The speaker highlighted several allegations against the Chief Judge, including the diversion of funds intended for the State Judiciary Library and the robe allowance of a fellow judge, which amounted to five million Naira.
Other allegations included the indiscriminate suspension of judicial staff without following proper procedures, diversion of revenue from electronic affidavits, and disobedience of a court judgment.
Egbedun clarified that the Governor and the House of Assembly cannot remove a Chief Judge from office without the involvement of the National Judicial Council, and that the Assembly was aware of the constitutional provisions and relevant Supreme Court decisions on the matter.
The speaker emphasized that the Osun State House of Assembly was not named as a defendant in the lawsuit filed by the Chief Judge at the National Industrial Court, Ibadan.
Furthermore, he stated that the Assembly had not received any injunction related to the lawsuit, discrediting claims that they had acted against a court order.
Egbedun concluded by affirming that the Osun State House of Assembly will not be deterred or influenced by misguided interpretations of its actions.
He assured the public that the Assembly is committed to upholding the Constitution, acting within its constitutional powers, and will not succumb to intimidation.
As the situation develops, it remains crucial for all parties to respect the legal processes and allow the relevant institutions to address the allegations and determine the appropriate course of action.