An embattled judge in Cross River State, Bassey Ebuta, has urged the National Judicial Council, NJC, to review the compulsory retirement order slammed on him.
He also appealed to the council to take a second look at the petition which it relied upon to hand him the retirement.
The embattled judge made the appeal in an interview with PREMIUM TIMES in Calabar on Wednesday.
Mr. Ebuta explained that he had responded to the allegations leveled against him with proofs and insisted that the NJC’s decision was harsh on him.
Mr. Ebuta also stressed that he needed no further proof to show that he sat in the open court with the petitioner in the Suit No HC/MSC.286/2014, as attested to by the petitioner, Mrs. Cobham, in her prayers 18 and 19.
He argued that the move to unseal Mrs. Cobham’s property was sequel to the setting aside of an earlier order issued by the Magistrate Court on a matter that was beyond the lower court’s jurisdiction.
“According to the Magistrate Court of Cross River State (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2012, the court cannot exercise jurisdiction over a matter above N1million, whereas, the order obtained was for N2million rent,” he said.
He further drew attention to Order 4, Rule 1 of the High Court of Cross State (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2008, which provides that delivering a ruling on ex-parte motion in the chamber was not illegal.
Having worked on the bench for over 10 years without a single query, Mr. Ebuta argued that the decision to retire him based on a single petition was harsh.
He, therefore, called on President Muhammadu Buhari, to intervene for the sake of justice.
“I am appealing to the NJC to tamper justice with mercy by reviewing the decision to retire me from service compulsorily,” Justice Ebuta pleaded.
“I am saying this considering the fact that I have not appeared before them before. This is the first time the NJC has invited me after more than 10 years in judicial service.
“Delivering a ruling in chamber is not illegal as stated in Order 4, Rule 1 of the High Court of Cross State (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2008.
“However, the ruling in this case was delivered in the open court. I have documents which I even presented before the NJC.”
The NJC had last week, through its Acting Director of Information, Soji Oye, announced the compulsory retirement of Justice Ebuta, following a petition by Ekanem Cobham.
In the petition, Mrs. Cobham alleged that the judge had among other infractions, issued an ex-parte order against her without sitting in court.
The NJC said the sanction against Justice Ebuta was as a result of his abuse of judicial power, suppression as well as illegal and forceful takeover of a property in Calabar metropolis.
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