President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the compulsory retirement of Justice Lambo Akanbi of the Port Harcourt Division of the Federal High Court for misconduct.
The acting Director of Information, National Judicial Council, Mr. Soji Oye, who disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday, said the compulsory retirement took immediate effect.
Oye said the NJC had at its 74th meeting held on November 4 and 5, 2015 recommended Justice Akanbi to President Buhari for compulsory retirement following various allegations levelled against him by Shell Petroleum Company Nigeria Limited.
According to Oye, the petitioner had alleged that Justice Akanbi unilaterally appointed Mr. Emeka Nkwo of CYN-JAC (NIG) LTD, who was not proposed by any of the parties, as ‘referee’ or ‘valuer’ in suit FHC/PH/CS/434/2012 and FHCC/PH/CS/435/2012.
He was also said to have 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.
He was alleged to have heard and concluded the case without dealing with the Notice of Preliminary Objection on the jurisdiction of his court.
The petitioner also alleged that Akanbi sat on the case in the Federal High Court, Yenegoa, in suit FHC/YNG/CS/30/2013 after a new judge had been transferred to the state without a fiat from the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court.
Akanbi was also accused of delivering the ruling in suit 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.
The petitioner was also said to have dismissed the application to set aside the report prepared by the valuer, CYN-JAC (NIG) LTD, and later changed the ruling into a judgment which prevented the respondent from pursuing the application for stay of proceedings at the Court of Appeal.
He was also accused of failing to give a copy of his ruling delivered on June 12, 2013 to the complainant until June 28, 2013.
The statement read in part, “President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the compulsory retirement of Honourable Justice Lambo Akanbi of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt Division, from office for misconduct, with immediate effect.
“The approval is based on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council after its 74th meeting which was held on November 4 and 5, 2015, following the various allegations levelled against him by Shell Petroleum Company Nigeria Limited.”
It added, “In the exercise of its constitutional powers, at the same meeting of November 4 and 5, 2015, council had suspended Honourable Justice Lambo Akanbi from office before the approval for his compulsory retirement by President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR).”