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Ngwuta, Supreme Court Judge, dies in Abuja

Justice Sylvester Ngwuta of the Supreme Court is dead. Sources at the apex court confirmed that Justice Ngwuta died around 2:00 am on Sunday. Farmers-herders…

Justice Sylvester Ngwuta of the Supreme Court is dead.

Sources at the apex court confirmed that Justice Ngwuta died around 2:00 am on Sunday.

Justice Ngwuta was said to be getting set for his retirement from on 30th March, 2021, upon the attainment of the 70 mandatory years.

In a statement on Sunday, the Chief Registrar of the court, Hadizatu Uwani Mustapha, said Justice Ngwuta was admitted at the National Hospital, Abuja, when he felt sick a week ago.

The Chief Registrar added that before he was moved to the intensive care unit (ICU) of the hospital on Friday March 5, he tested negative to the COVID-19 investigative test conducted on him.

“His remain has been deposited in the National Hospital mortuary pending the arrangement for his burial,” the statement reads.

“May the late Hon. Justice Nwali Sylvester Ngwuta rest in perfect peace and grant his family, Judiciary and the apex court to bear the irreparable loss.”

Profile

Born on March 30, 1951 in Amofia-Ukawu, Onicha Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, Justice Ngwuta was appointed Supreme Court Justice on March 22, 2011.

He had his basic education in the Eastern part of Nigeria and got his LLB in University of Ife (Now Obafemi Awolowo University). lle-Ife in 1977 and BL at the Nigerian Law School in 1978.

Justice Ngwuta was among the judicial officers arrested and charged with corruption in 2016 following a raid in their residences by the Department of State Services (DSS).

He was in May 2018 discharged and acquitted by a Federal High Court in Abuja.  The jurist subsequently returned to the bench of the Supreme Court.

Recent judgements

On February 26, 2020, he led the seven-member panel which unanimously dismissed the application to review of judgment brought by former Governor-elect and APC candidate in Bayelsa State, David Lyon and awarded costs against the lawyers in the matter for abuse of court process.

Also, on November 18, 2020, he led the seven-member panel which unanimously dismissed the six appeals challenging the election of Governor Duoye Diri of Bayelsa State.

Justice Ngwuta presided the panel which on October 27, 2020 declined jurisdiction over the disputed Soku oil wells between Bayelsa and Rivers State, and instead referred both states to the Court of Appeal which has original jurisdiction over such disputes.

On January 22, he led a five-member panel of justices which refused an application by Ali Abacha, a brother to late Head of State, Sani Abacha seeking to unfreeze accounts of the family in the UK, Switzerland, Island of Jersey, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg on the grounds that the issue had become statute barred.