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Osun Governor defies court order, suspends Chief Judge


Osun Governor defies court order, suspends Chief Judge

Governor Ademola Adeleke of Osun State has proceeded with the suspension of the state’s Chief Judge, Justice Oyebola Ojo, despite an interim order by the National Industrial Court restraining him from doing so.

The governor also appointed Justice Olayinka Afolabi as the acting Chief Judge, following the resolution of the House of Assembly.

Earlier, Justice Dele Peters of the National Industrial Court had issued an interim injunction restraining Governor Adeleke from removing Justice Oyebola Ojo as the Chief Judge.

This was in response to a lawsuit filed by Justice Ojo through her counsel, Oladipo Olasope, SAN, against the governor and other state officials.

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The court’s order included directives to continue paying the salary, entitlements, and benefits due to Justice Ojo as the Chief Judge, and for the governor to ensure her protection from harassment, considering her gender and family status.

The matter has been adjourned until December 12, 2023, for further proceedings, with a requirement for the hearing notice to be served to the defendants accordingly.

Assembly’s resolution

Meanwhile, the House of Assembly, in a statement by the Speaker’s media aide, Tiamiyu Olamide, stated that the lawmakers had, during plenary, ordered that Justice Ojo step aside as the Chief Judge pending the outcome of the investigation against her.

It also ordered that Justice Ojo should appear before the House Committee on Judiciary, Public Petitions and Legal Matters to defend the petitions against her within seven days.

The statement reads: “This House decision is in line with the investigative powers vested on the House of Assembly by the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

“The Executive Arm was also advised to immediately swear in the next Judge, in order of seniority, as the Acting Chief Judge of Osun State not to create a vacuum in the office, while the Executive was also advised to notify the National Judicial Council, NJC, and the State Judicial Service Commission of the resolution of the House.”

Meanwhile, Governor Adeleke, in a statement by his spokesperson, Olawale Rasheed, approved the resolution of the house suspending the Chief Judge and also appointed Justice Afolabi as the acting Chief Judge with immediate effect.

The statement reads: “Governor Adeleke has approved the resolution of the Osun State House of Assembly asking the Osun State Chief Judge, Adepele Ojo to step aside pending investigation of allegations of misconduct, abuse of power, corruption and disregard for rule of law against her by the House of Assembly.

“In the resolution of the Osun Assembly on November 16, 2023, the House resolved that the Executive should be informed of the House resolution and that the next in order of seniority to Justice Adepele Ojo be sworn in immediately to avoid any vacuum in the third arm of government in Osun State.”

Another statement issued shortly after the suspension reads:

“Governor Adeleke has appointed Justice Olayinka Afolabi as the acting Chief Judge of Osun State with immediate effect following the approval of the resolution of the House of Assembly.”

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