Appointment of judges: Lawyer reacts to FCT CJ’s claim on Oyo, Kogi vacancies

Sun, Mar 3, 2024
By editor


A legal practitioner, Azubuike Oko, has responded to the statement of the Chief Judge, FCT High Court, Justice Husseini Baba-Yusuf, that Oyo State and Kogi currently did not have two judges on the bench of the court.

Oko, in a statement he signed on Sunday in Abuja, alleged that the chief judge lied on oath in paragraph nine of his counter affidavit filed in reaction to his (Oko’s) suit.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Oko, in a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/205/2024 filed before Justice Inyang Ekwo of a Federal High Court, Abuja, had sought an order stopping the appointment of any person as judges from Oyo State and Kogi.

He alleged that the two states already had two sitting judges in the High Court of FCT.

He said going on with the appointment would be in violation of Sections 14(3) and 42 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s Constitution.

The plaintiff, among other reliefs, rather sought the inclusion of Ebonyi among the list of other states from which 12 judges should be appointed to fill the existing vacancies in the FCT High Court.

Justice Ekwo had, on Feb. 23, ordered Oko to put the defendants in the case on notice to show cause why his reliefs in the ex-parte motion should not be granted in the next adjourned date.

The judge, who made an order for accelerated hearing of the matter, fixed March 4 for hearing.

The defendants are Baba-Yusuf, National Judicial Council (NJC) and Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC) as 1st to 3rd defendants.

Also joined in the suit dated and filed on Feb. 16 by Nkemakolam Okoro are the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), President of Nigeria and Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) as 4th to 6th defendants respectively.

But in paragraph nine of his counter affidavit to the suit, the CJ averred that Kogi and Oyo did not have two judges on the bench of the court as claimed by the plaintiff.

The counter affidavit, dated March 1, was deposed to by Kemi Esene, a female litigation secretary in the law firm of Kehinde and Partners, on behalf of the FCT CJ, the NJC and the CJN.

Paragraph nine of the said counter affidavit reads: “In response to paragraph 3(m), Oyo and Kogi States do not have two serving judges in the High Court of the FCT.”

But responding to the content of the counter affidavit, Oko, in the statement, described it as “bare faced lie.”

He said it was a desperation by the CJ to achieve the appointment of judges from the listed states at all cost to the exclusion of Ebonyi.

“Does it mean that the Chief Judge of the High Court of FCT forgot that he is from Ankpa, Kogi State.

“Did he also forget that Hon. Justice E.Enenche is also from Kogi State?

“How did he not remember that Hon Justice Mohammed Alhaji Madugu and Hon Justice Ajoke Adepoju, both of Saki and Ibadan South West of Oyo States, are both from Oyo State?

“Between 2019 and 2022, lawyers from different states of the Federation have all been appointed to fill the vacancies for judges of the High Court of FCT.

“These vacancies ought to be filled in accordance with Section 14(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which provides as follows:

“The composition of the government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria.

”It is also to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few states or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that government or in any of its agencies,” he said.(NAN)


-March 03, 2024 @ 17:22 GMT|