Court delivers judgment on suit seeking to stop appointment of 21 judges

The Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday fixed Wednesday for judgment on a suit opposing the appointment of 21 persons on the list of 33 candidates recommended to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), for appointment as judges of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory.

Justice Okon Abang fixed the date for judgment after hearing parties to the suit which was instituted by a group of lawyers mostly Senior Advocates of Nigeria, the Justice Reform Project Foundation.

Buhari has since picked 11 of the names on the list recommended to him in April by the National Judicial Council and they have been sworn in by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad.

But the plaintiff had in its suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/602/2020 and filed on June 10, 2020, described the recommendation of the candidates by the National Judicial Council to the President as improper, adding that the 21 candidates were unsuitable for the appointment.

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Joined as defendants in the suit are Buhari, the NJC, the Judicial Service Committee of the FCT, the Attorney-General of the Federation and the 21 nominees.

The Chairman of the Governing Board of the JRP Foundation, Mrs Funke Adekoya (SAN), stated in the affidavit filed in support of the group’s suit that the recommendation of 21 of the candidates was marred by “impropriety, anomalies and procedural irregularities”.

At the Tuesday’s proceedings, the President’s lawyer, Suleiman Jibril, urged the court to dismiss the suit through which he stated the plaintiff sought to dictate to the President on whether or not to appoint the candidates.

Other defence lawyers comprising, Mahmud Magaji (SAN), Yunus Usman (SAN), and Abdul Ibrahim, urged the court to dismiss the suit.

Ibrahim, who represented the 5th to 25th defendants, the candidates whose appointments were being challenged, urged the court to award N50m against the plaintiffs.

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