Judges' Arrest Reps to pass bill that will reduce President's power over judges

The House of Representatives has moved to amend a bill that will not give only the President power to sack judges.

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The House of Representatives on Thursday, October 13, moved to check the President's power in the removal of judges.

In view of this, the lower chamber calls for the involvement of the National Judicial Council (NJC) in the procedure for the removal of head of courts to avoid victimisation by the executive.

The development follows the controversial raid recently carried out by the Department of State Service (DSS) on the homes of some allegedly corrupt judges of the Supreme, Appeal and High courts across the country.

This was contained in a Bill, entitled An act to pursuant to Section 9(1) and (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) to alter Section 292 (1) (A) and (i) (ii) to include the National Judicial Council in the procedure for the removal of heads of courts established by the Constitution under Section 6 (5), promoted by Garba Datti Muhammad, APC, Kaduna.

In the past, the NJC only had the responsibility to recommend an erring judge to the President, but with the proposed Bill amendment, if passed,  the Council will be involved in the discipline or removal of any erring judge.

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Reading the Bill, which passed second reading on the floor of the House on Thursday, Muhammad said the purpose of the proposed amendment "is to ensure that judicial officers serving as heads of courts are not victimised through removal by executive fiat, acting in concert with the legislature without any established or verifiable evidence."

He added that the objective is to subject the removal of judges only upon the advice of the National Judicial Council.

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