Again, South-east Raise Alarm Chief Justice Of Nigeria Swears In 18 New Justices

Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), will later today swear in 18 newly appointed Justices of the Court of Appeal. The event is coming a few days after a Federal High Court in Abuja had dismissed a suit by an Igbo sociocultural group seeking to stop the appointment on claims of being biased towards the South-east geopolitical zone.

The notice of swearing-in was contained in a letter of invite to the Chief Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, Justice Salisu Garba. Part of the letter signed by the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, Mrs Hadizatu Mustapha, read: “The CJN invites your lordship to the swearing-in ceremony of the following Justices of the Court of Appeal, Abuja on Monday, 28th June, 2021 by 10AM at the Main Court Room of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.”

The swearing-in ceremony was also confirmed by the media aide to the CJN, Mr Ahuraka Isah. The appointees, according to a statement by the Information Director of the National Judicial Council (NJC), Mr Soji Oye, on March 19, 2021, had emerged successful at the interview committee of the NJC.

Consequently, their names were then forwarded to the president for approval for appointment as justices of the appellate court. Although the president had approved their appointment as contained in a memo by his Chief of Staff, Mr Ibrahim Gambari, on April 22, however the Igbo group had on March 16 filed a court action to stop the appointment of the 18 justices.

The Incorporated Trustees of Alaigbo Development Foundation had gone to court to void the appointments on the grounds that the South-east region had been marginalised in the selection process. According to plaintiff’s lawyer, Mr Max Ozoaka, the selection of the 18 Justices done by the National Judicial Council (NJC) violated the provisions of the 1999 Constitution through lopsidedness in the nomination.

Specifically, the group alleged that the principle of Federal Character was breached in the way and manner the Appeal Court Justices were nominated and subsequently prayed the judge to stop the appointment. However, delivering judgment in the suit on Friday, Justice Inyang Ekwo dismissed it for lacking merit in law and in substance.

Justice Ekwo held that the body that instituted the case has no power under the law to file a public interest case. According to him, the plaintiff having been registered as a non-governmental body to raise funds for charity only in law cannot go outside its mandate to dabble into issues of public interest litigation.

The Names Of The New Appointees With Their States Of Origin Are As Follows:

1. Mohammed Danjuma (Niger State)

2. Muhammad Ibrahim Sirajo (Plateau)

3. Abdul-Azeez Waziri (Adamawa)

4. Yusuf A. Bashir (Taraba)

5. Usman A. Musale (Yobe)

6. Ibrahim Wakili Jauro (Yobe)

7. Abba Bello Mohammed (Kano State)

8. Bature Isah Gafai (Katsina)

9. Danlami Zama Senchi (Kebbi)

10. Mohammed Lawal Abubakar (Sokoto)

11. Hassan Muslim Sule (Zamfara)

11. Hassan Muslim Sule (Zamfara)

12. Kenneth Ikechukwu Amadi (Imo)

13. Peter Oyinkenimiemi Affen (Bayelsa)

14. Sybil Onyeji Gbagi (Delta)

15. Olasunbo Goodluck (Lagos)

16. Adebukola Banjoko (Ogun)

17. Olabode Adegbehingbe (Ondo)

18. Bola Samuel Ademola (Ondo).

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