Members of Osun chapter of Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) embarked on a peaceful protest on Monday in Osogbo, picketing the office of the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Adepele Ojo.
They demanded reasons for the delay in the payment of their wardrobe allowances since 2021, in spite of funding by the state government.
They also demanded reasons behind what they called unlawful suspension of some JUSUN members from office for upwards of 57 months without proper investigation.
The unionists also demanded explanation about the stoppage of training for judiciary workers at the National Judicial Institute in spite of annual budgetary allocations for the purpose.
Chairman of the union, Mr Oluwagbemiga Eludire, told newsmen that the picketing of Justice Ojo’s office had nothing to do with her suspension from office on Thursday and the reversal on Sunday.
Gov. Ademola Adeleke announced the suspension of Justice Ojo from office on Thursday, but reversed himself on Sunday after a public uproar condemning the initial action.
In a statement issued in Osogbo on Thursday, Gov. Adeleke’s spokesman, Mr Olawale Rasheed, said Adeleke approved the suspension of Justice Ojo after the resolution of the state’s House of Assembly.
He stated that the house resolution was to give the legislature room to investigate its allegations of misconduct, abuse of power, corruption and disregard for rule of law against the chief judge.
Rasheed stated that Gov. Adeleke also approved the appointment of Justice Olayinka Afolabi as the Acting Chief Judge of the state.
He stated that Gov. Adeleke had directed his deputy, Mr Kola Adewusi to swear in Afolabi in acting capacity pending approval by the National Judicial Council (NJC) in Abuja.
The swearing in did not hold, however, as Adewusi, scheduled to oversee the event, and Justice Afolabi, the Acting Chief Judge did not show up at the venue of the exercise on Friday.
The NJC also did not give approval for the suspension of Justice Ojo and for her replacement by Justice Afolabi.
On Sunday, Nov. 19, Gov. Adeleke reversed himself, and denied that he suspended Justice Ojo from office.
He said he only forwarded the resolution of the House of Assembly asking the chief judge to “step aside’’ pending the investigation of the allegation of corruption against her.
Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr Kolapo Alimi stated in Osogbo on Sunday that the governor had not even appointed any judicial officer as acting Chief Judge.
He added that Gov. Adeleke only recommended the acting chief judge to the NJC, being the most senior in line.
“The government of Osun State has denied news reports that Gov. Adeleke has removed the Chief Judge and appointed an acting Chief Judge.
“The governor only forwarded the resolution of the House of Assembly and recommendation for an acting appointment to the Chief Justice of the Nigeria for decision and action.
“With all sense of responsibility, it is important to set the records straight.
“Gov. Adeleke only notified the Chief Justice of Nigeria as the Chairman of the NJC in writing about the resolutions of the House of Assembly following a series of petitions made against the chief judge.
“In the communication, the governor intimated the CJN of the recommendation of the House that the Chief Judge should step aside.
“He included his own submission for an acting appointment to fill the vacuum while the NJC reviews and decides on the petition.
“The governor in the same letter recommended to the CJN, the appointment of the most senior judicial officer, Justice Olayinka Afolabi for thorough consideration and further processing by the same NJC through the CJN.
“We therefore state categorically that Gov. Adeleke has not appointed any judicial official as acting Chief Judge and nobody has been sworn in as Acting Chief Judge of Osun,’’ Alimi stated.
Justice Ojo delivered a landmark judgment in Osogbo in May when she sentenced a popular and influential hotelier in Ile-Ife, Osun, to death over the murder of a guest on his property. (NAN). READ ALSO:
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