Share this:

Like this:

Like Loading...
" />
Published On: Thu, Sep 24th, 2020

Court faults Buhari on judges’ appointment

Share This
Tags

By Vivian Okejeme, Abuja

Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court Abuja, yesterday held that it was wrong of President Muhammadu Buhari to forward the names of 11 lawyers nominated for appointment as judges of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to the Senate for screening and confirmation.
According to the court, the action contravenes the provision of Section 256(2) of the Constitution when he forwarded the recommended names, sent to him by the National Judicial Council (NJC), to the Senate.
It further held that the only instance where the President can forward NJC’s recommendation to the Senate, in respect of a High Court judge’s appointment, is when it relates to the appointment of a head of court, like the Chief Judge.
However, Justice Ekwo maintained that the fact that President Buhari contravened the provision of Section 256(2) of the Constitution did not affect that swearing-in of the judges.
The appointees are: Abubakar Useni Musa, Edward Okpe, B. Abubakar, M. Francis, Jude Nwabueze, Josephine Enobi, Christopher Opeyemi, Mohammed Idris, Hassan Maryam Aliyu, Fashola Akeem Adebowale and Hamza Muazu.
The judgment was in a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/733/2020 filed by Oladimeji Felix Ekengba against President Buhari, the Attorney General of the Federation, the Senate, the President of the Senate, the Clerk of the Senate, the Chief Justice of Nigeria and the NJC.
Justice Ekwo said: “The issue is straightforward. It is whether the first defendant (the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria) acted in compliance with the provision of Section 256(2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to have sent the names of the 11 persons recommended for appointment as judges of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja to the Senate for confirmation.
“Looking at the provision of Section 256(2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), I find that there is no power or authority, express or implied, given to the first defendant (the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria) to send names of persons recommended to him for appointment as judges to the Senate for screening.
“All that the first defendant needed to do was to send the names of the appointees to the seventh defendant (the NJC). The requirement for confirmation by the Senate would only have been necessary and constitutional if the seventh defendant recommended a person to the first defendant for appointment as the Chief Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja as provided for in Section 256(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
“To state it clearly, the act of the first defendant, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria) sending the names of the 11 persons appointed by him to the Senate for confirmation was done in contravention of the provision of Section 256(2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).”
Justice Ekwo proceeded to grant two of the plaintiff’s reliefs, which include a declaration that, by the provision of Section 256(2) of the Constitution, the President “cannot abdicate his duties and responsibilities to the Senate for appointment of persons as judges of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory.”
The judge equally declared that the names of the individuals nominated by the NJC for appointment as judges of the High Court of the FCT cannot be subjected to the screening and confirmation and that the forwarding of the names to the Senate was contrary to and in breach of Section 256(2) of the Constitution.
“As can be seen, this judgement affects only the act of forwarding the names of the appointees to the Senate, which was done in contravention of the provision of Section 256(2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). It does not affect the swearing in of the appointees.”

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

%d bloggers like this: