There are strong indications over the weekend that theJudicial Commission (NJC) had commenced a probe into the alleged meetings between the factional National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and Justice A. M Liman of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt Division. The meetings between Sheriff and Justice Liman were held in Kaduna and Accra, Ghana.
The Council is also probing the judge over alleged circumstances surrounding a judgement Justice Liman delivered in a suit marked, FHC/PH/ CS/524/2016 filed by the Chairman and Secretary, National Caretaker Committee of PDP, Senators Ahmed Makarfi and Ben Obi respectively, against the factional national chairman and secretary of the party, Sheriff and Prof. Wale Oladipo.
The probe was as a result of a petition against the judge filed by Sheriff and submitted to the office of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) who is also the Chairman of the NJC. The petition was entitled “Re: Corrupt practices and breach of the Code of Conduct for judicial officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by Justice A.M Liman of the Federal High Court in respect of suit no. FHC/PH/CS/524/2016.”
Sheriff, in his petition dated July 4 and personally signed by him, alleged that he, on two different occasions, met with Justice Liman at his (Liman’s) request both in Kaduna and Ghana respectively over the suit in respect of the PDP leadership tussle.
“In June 2016 (sic), I received a call from my Principal Secretary who informed me that Justice Liman was with him in his house and it will be good if I speak with him. I then spoke with Justice Liman who informed me that he would be attending Judges’ Conference in Kaduna and that we should meet in Kaduna concerning the case before him.
“On May 28 (sic), I went to Kaduna to meet Justice Liman and stayed at the ASA Pyramid Hotel. Justice Liman came to meet me in my hotel room with a Senior Judge of the Federal High Court,” Sheriff alleged in his petition.
Sherriff added that Justice Liman told him that he (Justice Liman) was under intense pressure to determine the matter in favour of the Caretaker Committee, although he realised that the justice of the matter was on his side in view of the previous orders of his brother judges in the Lagos Division of the court.
“A few days later, Justice Liman informed me that he would be attending a conference in Ghana and that I should come and see him in Ghana for further discussion. I went to Ghana on June 20 and stayed at Movenpic Hotel in Accra for one night.
“That same day, soon after I checked into the room, Justice Liman came to see me in my room late in the evening. My aide, Shettima Shehu, was with me when Justice Liman arrived and left us soon after greeting the judge who was dressed in track suit. “While in my hotel room in Ghana, the judge reiterated the pressure mounted on him by a PDP chieftain and wondered why the party chieftain was that desperate and he expressed fear of the chieftain,” the petition reads.
In the petition, Sheriff alleged that Justice Liman had, on May 23, among others, granted an ex-parte order in a suit filed by Makarfi and Obi restraining him and other executive members purportedly removed by the National Convention from parading themselves, nor do anything howsoever to negate the decisions reached at the said convention.
Sheriff added that his lawyer had filed a motion to discharge the ex-parte on May 26 and the judge refused to hear the motion within the period of 14 days prescribed by Order 26 rule 12 of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules 2009.
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