The leader of a Yoruba Socio Cultural Group, Afenifere, Reuben Fasoranti, on Tuesday said the one year suspension of Justice Abubakar Talba of the Abuja High Court by the National Judicial Council[ NJC ] is not sufficient for his offence.
Justice Talba was found guilty of handing an ‘’unreasonable ‘’ sentence to a self –confessed pension thief, John Yakubu Yusufu.
The NJC, had last week, suspended the embattled judge for one year, saying he should not be entitled to any form of remuneration within the period .
Mr. Talba had earlier directed Yusufu to pay a fine of N750,000 ,shortly after the accused person who was a former Deputy Director in the pension office ,admitted before the trial court that he conspired with other civil servants to steal about N23 billion from the police Pension Fund .
Though Section 309 of the criminal Procedure Act, ACP, upon which the accused was charged to court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC] gave the court the choice of sentencing the accused to a maximum of two years imprisonment with a fine, Justice Talba used his discretion to order Mr. Yusufu to pay the fine without going to jail.
The EFCC subsequently petitioned the NJC saying the judge violated a verbal agreement all parties had that the convict would be jailed without option of fine over the plea bargain.
Following public uproar, the NJC summoned Justice Talba and ordered him to file his defence to the allegation that he was bribed by the convicted pension official.
Though Mr. Talba denied his alleged relationship with Mr. Yusufu, the NJC ,in a statement, found him guilty of judicial recklessness.
Mr. Fasoranti, however, said the one-year suspension would not serve as deterrent to others since it wasn’t disciplinary enough.
The elder statesman maintained that the embattled judge should have been sent out of service with ignominy.
”Talba should be dismissed .That is the side of justice .The one year suspension handed to him is not enough .It will not serve as deterrent to other people,” he said. ‘’The NJC should take a final stand in case of any future occurrence .He should be sent out of service.’’