Radical lawyer and human rights activist, Timipa Jenkins Okponipere, today gave Justice Mary Odili of the Supreme Court a 30-day ultimatum, beginning July 20, to resign honorably, saying he intends to resume hisdetermined struggle to push her out of the nation’s top court.
He issued the ultimatum following his discharge by Chief Magistrate Ahmed Usman Shuaibu of the Chief Magistrate Court in Abuja from a criminal charge of impersonation as a lawyer filed against him by the Inspector General of Police upon a complaint byJustice Odili.
“She's not only corrupt; she constitutes a bad example to the younger generation,” the lawyer affirmed in a statement.
“Growing up in Port Harcourt and later studying law at the State University, we all saw Chief Magistrate Mary Odili (as she then was), as The Incorruptible Judge. When I founded my law firm in 2004 I had her official portrait hung at a strategic corner. I've since taken down the damn portrait!"
He appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari, the International Bar Association (IBA), the media and civil society groups to take special interest in his efforts to rid the Supreme Court of Justice Odili.
“I am making this appeal because of my belief that Chief Justice Mahmud Mohammed and the National Judicial Council (NJC) are biased and have therefore refused to act on my two previous petitions regarding the matter," he said.
Mr. Okponipere was arrested in the premises of the Federal High Court in Abuja last February soon after he appeared before Justice Anwuri Chikere to move an application seeking the removal of Justice Odili from the Supreme Court bench for alleged judicial misconduct.
He asserted that in 2013, Justice Odili violated the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers in Nigeria when she heard and delivered judgment in a Criminal Appeal in which the Record of Appeal indicated that she wasthe complainant, the prosecutor and the judge against him, who was a party in the case.
“Justice Odili's conduct is believed to be a judicial misconduct which is known in legal parlance as "NEMO JUDEX IN CAUSA SUA" (No man should be a Judge in his own case). The case is reported in the Nigerian Weekly Law Report as TIMIPA OKPONIPERE VS. THE STATE (2013) 10 NWLR (1362).
With today’s discharge, Mr. Okponipere's affirmed that his status as a bonafide lawyer in Nigeria has been re-confirmed, and he expressed his readiness to resume prosecution of the case seeking Justice Odili’s removalfrom the Supreme Court bench.
That case is still pending before Justice Chikere of the Federal High Court in Abuja.