Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja

The Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution has written a petition to the National Judicial Council accusing a Federal High Court Judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, of misconduct.

The petition, titled, ‘Re: Suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/1384/2020 Complaint of Judicial Misconduct Against Hon Justice A.R Mohammed’ was submitted at the NJC on November 16, 2020.

In the petition, which was signed by its Convener, Ariyo Dare-Atoye, the CDNDC said the judge erred by granting a motion ex parte to the Central Bank of Nigeria to freeze the accounts of 20 #EndSARS campaigners for 90 days when he ought to know that the order exceeded the maximum period a court of law can allow pursuant to Order 26 Rule 10 of the rules of the court.

The petition read in part, “We write to bring to your notice (and to request for your investigation) what seems to us a glaring case of grievous judicial misbehaviour by Justice A. R Mohammed of the Federal High Court Abuja.

“As you would already know, on October 20, 2020 the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the plaintiff in the above referenced suit the CBN allegedly took out a motion ex parte at the Federal High Court Abuja against Gatefield Company Ltd and 19 other citizens of Nigeria. In the now well-publicised application, the CBN sought an order of interim injunction.”

The group said the defendants had yet to be served with any originating processes in the suit and it is doubtful whether the CBN had in fact commenced a substantive suit against the defendants before or after the said ex parte application and consequent orders.

It said, however, Justice Mohammed proceeded to grant a mandatory order of interim injunction empowering the CBN to direct banks to freeze all transactions in 20 bank accounts belonging to Gatefield Company LTD and 19 others for a period of 90 days.

The petition further read, “We believe that, in issuing these deeply concerning orders, the Honourable Justice A.R. Mohammed violated his judicial oath and, in our view, ridiculed, devalued, and imperilled the Nigerian system of justice before a watching world. Our reasons are set out below.

“First, we are shocked that His Lordship, Justice A. R Mohammed granted the above ex parte order in the absence of compelling evidence that it ought to be granted. The fact-free affidavit in support of the ex parte application woefully failed to connect the defendants to any investigations or crimes necessitating the application or its grant.

“In issuing this dubious order, His Lordship poked fingers at the Supreme Court of Nigeria and violated long-standing apex court’s guidelines consistently admonishing against the abuse of ex parte orders by judges and litigants.”

The group said the action of the presiding judge, in granting the questionable order, had called into question the integrity of the nation’s justice system.


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