The National Judicial Council (NJC) has denied authorship of a trending letter which asserts that the Kebbi State Governor holds exclusive authority in determining the hierarchy of judges.

News reports (not CITY LAWYER) had alleged that the appointment of the Head of Court or Chief Judge resides solely within the jurisdiction of the state’s Governor.

But the apex regulatory body in the judiciary distanced itself from the controversial letter, saying it has asked relevant security agencies to launch a probe with a view to unmask its authors.

The NJC “earnestly appeals to all concerned parties, including media establishments and the public, to place reliance solely on validated and genuine sources for information pertaining to judicial affairs.”

The “Disclaimer” obtained by CITY LAWYER and signed by Mr. Soji Oye, NJC’s Director of Information, reads:

The attention of the National Judicial Council has been drawn to a fake letter dated 14 July 2023, purported to have emanated from the Council, and signed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman, National Judicial Council, Hon Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, GCON.

The fake letter titled “Order of Seniority of Judges of the High Court of Kebbi state and recommendation of Justice Umar Abubakar as the substantive Chief Judge of Kebbi state” addressed to the Chief Judge stating “that under section 10 of the existing law of Kebbi state 1996, His Excellency, the Governor, has the power to determine Seniority of Judges and the National Judicial Council has no power to override or reverse the decision of His Excellency”.

It further stated that “the office of the Head of Court/ Chief Judge is purely a political appointment to be decided by the Governor of a state “.

For the purpose of clarification and avoidance of doubt, the National Judicial Council hereby emphatically disclaimed the letter as there is no iota of truth in it, and no such letter ever emanated from the office of the Chief Justice of Nigeria or the Council.

The public is hereby advised to discountenance the letter and its content.

Meanwhile, the Council has reported the unfortunate case to the relevant security agencies with a view to investigate and bring to book whoever is behind this dastardly act.

Soji Oye, Esq.
Director, Information

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