,The Supreme Court yesterday reinstated the Chief Judge of Kwara State, Justice Raliat Elelu-Habeeb, almost three years after she was removed from office.
Elelu-Habeeb was replaced by the immediate past Governor Bukola Saraki in May 2009 for alleged corruption and misconduct.
The panel of seven Justices in a unanimous judgment held that the then Governor, Bukola Saraki and “the House of Assembly cannot remove the CJ from office without recourse to and input or participation of the National Judicial Council (NJC).
Justice Mahmud Mohammed who delivered the judgement affirmed the decision of the Federal High Court, Ilorin, Kwara, which granted all the reliefs sought by Elelu-Habeeb.
Consequently, the apex court set aside the decision of the Court of Appeal, Ilorin, which said the Federal High Court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the suit.
Justice Mohammed held that since the case involved the interpretation of the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, the Federal High Court had jurisdiction.
The apex court noted that by the provisions of Section 271(1) of the 1999 Constitution the Governor of a state has been vested with the power to appoint the Chief Judge of his own State, but that power is not absolute.