The National Judicial Council (NJC) on Saturday defended its decision to recall six judges who were accused of corruption.
The council specifically justified the recall of Justice Inyang Okoro of the Supreme Court and Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court in Abuja.
The NJC on June 3 had asked the judges to return to work, stating that some have been acquitted by the court while the Federal Government refused to bring up charges against others.
NJC’s Director of Information, Soji Oye in a statement on Saturday said there was no pending and valid suits against Justices Okoro and Ademola to justify their continued suspension.
The statement read in part, “It is to be stressed that our criminal justice is also predicated on accusatorial system and not inquisitorial.
“Thus, every accused person is presumed to be innocent until his guilt is proved beyond reasonable doubt by the prosecution.
“On the foregoing, the council is compelled to inform the public that the decision it took to direct the affected justices/judges to recuse themselves from performing their judicial duties was born out of respect for the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
“It was done in order to maintain the integrity and sanctity of the judiciary and sustain public confidence.
“However, the recent decision of the council to recall the judicial officers was based on the principles of rule of law and fairness.
“The council reiterates that it shall continue to support the President Buhari administration in its fight against corruption in all its ramifications in the federation.
“We are committed to cleansing the judiciary of corrupt judicial officers, under the purview of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the principles of the rule of law enshrined therein.”
It added that there was no other pending appeal filed by the Federal Government to challenge the acquittal of Justice Ademola by a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja.
The NJC said the government only filed a notice of appeal.