Justice Mohammed Liman of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt and Justice Okon Abang in Abuja division have been redeployed, in a major shake up ordered by the Chief Judge of the court.
A circular addressed to all judges of the court, announced that Justice Liman had been moved to Enugu division, while Justice Abang is transferred to Asaba division.
The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, who endorsed the redeployment of Justices Liman, Abang and nine others, was silent on the reason for the movement. He mainly attributed it to “the recent developments in the court.”
The circular said the postings would not affect the criminal cases the redeployed judges are currently handling.
According to the circular: “In view of the fact some divisions are currently short of judge following the recent developments in the court, it has become necessary to take urgent steps to fill in existing vacancies.
“Affected judges are expected to resume in their new divisions by January 30, 2017. The judges shall continue with the hearing of criminal cases currently before them, as well as at least two witnesses have testified.”
Others affected 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 moved 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.
Two of the judges being moved are Justices Liman and Abang, have been very controversial.
Liman gave the judgment that accentuated the leadership crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), when he recognised the Ahmed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee as the authentic body to run the affairs of the party.
Justice Abang gave the judgment which sacked Abia State Governor Okezie Ikpeazu last year. The appellate court reversed the decision.
Justice Abang also gave the judgment on which the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) based his decision to substitute Eyitayo Jegede with Jimoh Ibrahim as the candidate of the PDP during last February’s governorship election in Ondo State.
Justice Abang is the trial judge in major criminal cases including those involving ex-spokesman of the PDP, Olisa Metuh; ex-Chief of Defence Staff Alex Badeh and former governor of Adamawa State Murtala Nyako.