Justice Okon Abang has been redeployed from the Federal High Court Abuja division to the Asaba division of the court by the chief judge of the Federal High Court, Ibrahim Auta. This is his second transfer in as many years.
In January 2016, Abang was redeployed from the Lagos division of the court to Abuja. He left under controversial circumstances. He delivered several contentious rulings in his time in Lagos, but one of the most significant was the order barring the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) from arresting Senator Buruji Kashamu over accusations that he was involved in illicit drug deals.
In Abuja, Abang became an even more visible face and many times at the centre of the intrigues characterising politics in Abuja from the crisis over the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the ouster of Abia governor Okezie Ikpeazu.
Ten other judges were also redeployed by the chief judge.
They include: Justice Mohammed Liman (moved from Port Harcourt to Enugu); Justice S. Saidu (from Lagos to Port Harcourt); Justice A.O. Faji (from Asaba to Lagos); Justice R. M. Aikawa (from Sokoto to Lagos); Justice B.O. Quadri (from Port Harcourt to Abuja); and Justice Mallong Hoommuk (from Port Harcourt to Lafia).
Others 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.
In a circular addressed to all judges of the federal high court on December 21, 2016, the chief judge asked all affected judges to resume at their new stations by January 30.
According to the circular, the posting would not affect the criminal cases the affected judges are currently handling.
It read in part, “In view of the fact some divisions are currently short of judges 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.”