By Vivian Okejeme, Abuja
Justice Inyang Ekwo, of the Federal High Court in Abuja, has granted permission to an Abuja-based lawyer, Mr Oladimeji Ekengba, to pursue a suit against President Muhammadu Buhari.
The plaintiff is seeking the leave of the court to sue Buhari, over his refusal to appoint all the 33 nominees recommended to him by the National Judicial Council(NJC) as judges of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
In April, 2020, President Buhari appointed 11, leaving out the 21 others of the nominees presented to him by the NJC.
Mentioned as respondents in the matter are President Buhari and the Attorney-General of the Federation.
In an ex parte application, Ekengba sought the leave of court to institute the legal action to seek an order of mandamus compelling the President to appoint all the nominees as judges as recommended by the NJC.
Ekengba had insisted in his ex parte application filed in July this year that the President was duty-bound to appoint all the 33 nominees by virtue of Section 256 (2) of the Constitution.
An applicant is required to seek and obtain the leave of court, otherwise referred to as the permission of court, before filing the main suit seeking an order of mandamus to compel the President or any public officer to carry out an official duty.
In his ruling, Justice Ekwo held that the applicant placed sufficient materials before the court to warrant granting him the permission to pursue the suit.
“I am satisfied that he has placed sufficient materials of persuasive value,” the judge said.
He, however, noted that granting permission to the applicant to take an action “is not the action itself”.
“I therefore grant leave to the applicant to seek an order of mandamus directing and/or compelling the 1st respondent (the President) to act on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council by appointing thirty-three persons as Honourable Judges of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory pursuant to Section 256 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as Amended),” the court held.