‘She Diverted N5m’ — Osun Assembly, Chief Judge Trade Words Over Corruption Allegation, CJ’s Suspension
Amidst the dispute between the executive and judiciary arms of government in Osun State, the State Assembly and Chief Judge have traded words over corruption allegations against Justice Oyebola Adepele-Ojo and her suspension.
Our heritage reporter on Monday, Olamide Tiamiyu, a media aide to the Osun Speaker, Olawale Egbedun, accused the embattled CJ of diverting funds meant for the state judiciary library and robe allowances for staff, totaling N5 million.
Tiamiyu claimed that the CJ indiscriminately suspended judicial staff, diverted their salaries, appointed a consultant, and misappropriated proceeds recovered from convicted armed robbers of the Ikirun robbery.
He claimed that the Osun Assembly is unveiling corruption in line with Section 128 (2) (b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the case of Adepele-Ojo.
He also noted that the Governor and the House of Assembly cannot remove a Chief Judge without the involvement of the National Judicial Council.
“The Osun State House of Assembly is aware of the position of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the decisions of the Supreme Court in various cases stating that the Governor of a State and the House of Assembly cannot remove a Chief Judge from office without the participation of the National Judicial Council.
“Therefore, we urge commentators to be cautious in their utterances, as they may convey the misconception that the Osun State House of Assembly has removed or intends to remove the Chief Judge of Osun State without the involvement of the National Judicial Council,” said Tiamiyu.
In response, Justice Adepele-Ojo’s counsel, Barrister Olasope, SAN, challenged the Assembly’s authority to recommend her removal, citing Section 292 of the Constitution, which designates the National Judicial Council as the only body responsible for disciplining a Chief Judge.
She also dismissed the allegations leveled against her as baseless and criticized the Assembly’s approach.
Justice Adepele-Ojo questioned the timing of the Assembly’s actions, stating that disciplinary proceedings should precede any suspension.
Olasope queried, “Who are they (the state assembly) to query the CJ? Disciplining the CJ does not lie with the Osun State House of Assembly; Section 292 of the Constitution is very clear. It is the NJC who can discipline a CJ, not the House of Assembly. So, all those allegations are figments of their own imagination.”
On the allegations against his client, Olasope said, “they are putting the cart before the house with their approach.
“They have to say something to justify their position and that is what they choose to say. The issue now is that they have come to court and employed the service of a lawyer who has collected service of processes on their behalf this morning in court. That is the point at which we are. So, the case has now been adjourned till 4th of December. So, we will see how it goes from there.
“They employed just one lawyer, Musftau Adetunbi. They are putting the cart before the horse. After you asked the woman to step aside, you are now bringing up charges and allegations. Why not bring the allegations first, try her, if you find her guilty, then send it to the NJC and the NJC will now decide.”