A suit filed by the Justice Reform Project (JRP) seeking to stop the inauguration of 21 of the 33 candidates as high court judges in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) will come up before Justice Okon Abang of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on Friday, July 10.
Recall that in April, the National Judicial Council (NJC) recommended 33 candidates to the president for appointment as judges of the high court of the FCT.
This recommendation is now being challenged by the JRP for clear lapses. In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/602/2020 and filed on June 10, JRP submitted that 21 out of the nominated persons have not “met the criteria nor satisfied the conditions set out in the extant guidelines and procedural rules for the appointment of judicial officers in Nigeria.”
JRP posited that the Judicial Service Committee of the FCT “acted improperly, in bad faith and gross abuse of the power vested in it by paragraph 2(a) of part III of the third schedule of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria 1999” when it submitted the names of the 21 persons to the NJC for appointment as judges.
The group now seeks an “an order setting aside the recommendation of the 2nd defendant (NJC) to the 1st defendant (President Buhari) for the appointment of the 5th — 25th defendants as Judges of the high court of the federal capital territory, Abuja.”
In addition, they are seeking an order of perpetual injunction restraining the president from “giving effect in any manner whatsoever” to the recommendation made to him by the NJC for the appointment of the 21 persons.
The president, Muhammadu Buhari, the NJC, the Judicial Service Committee of the FCT and the attorney general of the federation are the first to fourth defendants.
The recommended candidates who are joined in the suit as 5th to the 21st defendants include Madugu Alhaji, Ogbeide Enobie, Agunloye Kayode, Eneche Eleojo, Nwanbulu Chineze, Abubabakar Babashani, Aminu Abdullahi, Nwecheonwu Elewe, and Ibrahim Mohammed.
Others are Sadia Mayana, Mimi Katsina-Alu Apena, Indinya Kanyip, Aliyu Shafa, Mohammed Zuberu, Binta Dongoyaro, Christopher Oba, Fatima Aliyu, Aliyu Ahmed, Hafsat Aliyu, Njideka Iheme, Olufolake Oshin.
There has been countless allegation- especially on social media- that some of the individuals nominated are blood relatives of serving and retired senior judicial officers.