Justices Okon Abang and Mohammed Liman have been redeployed from the Abuja and Port Harcourt divisions of the court in a major shake-up ordered by the chief judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, on Monday. Nine other justices were also affected in the shake-up announced through a circular.
Abang was transferred to Asaba division, while Liman was moved to Enugu division.
Auta, who endorsed the redeployment, attributed their transfer to “the recent developments in the court”, adding that all the affected judges are expected to resume in their new divisions by January 30.
The circular also assured that the postings will not affect the criminal cases currently being handled by the redeployed judges.
It reads in part: “In view of the fact some divisions are currently short of judges, following the recent developments in the courts, it has become necessary to take urgent steps to fill in existing vacancies.
“The judges shall continue with the hearing of criminal cases currently before them, as well as at least two witnesses have testified.”
Others affected by the posting include: Justice S. Saidu (moved from Lagos to Port Harcourt), Justice A.O. Faji (from Asaba to Lagos), Justice R. M. Aikawa (Sokoto to Lagos), Justice B.O. Quadri (from Port Harcourt to Abuja), Justice Mallong Hoommuk (from Port Harcourt to Lafia).
Also redeployed are: Justice K.K. Dagat (from Lagos to Kano), Justice Saleh Idrissa (Kano to Sokoto), Justice H.I.O Oshomah (from Lafia to Port Harcourt) and Justice J.K. Omotosho (from Kano to Port Harcourt).
Abang gave the judgment that sacked Abia State governor Okezie Ikpeazu last year. The ruling was, however, upturned by the appellate court which said Abang “stood the law on its head” and adopted a “hostile proceeding” against Ikpeazu and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He also gave the verdict upon which the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) based its decision to substitute Eyitayo Jegede with Jimoh Ibrahim as the candidate of the PDP during the recent governorship election in Ondo State.
Liman, for his part, had given the ruling that recognised the Ahmed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee as the authentic body to run the affairs of the PDP.