An Abuja-based lawyer, Oladimeji Felix Ekengba, has alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari and the Senate breached Section 256(2) of the Nigerian Constitution, 1999 in the appointment of judges of the FCT High Court.
Ekengba is therefore asking a Federal High Court in Abuja to compel President Buhari and the Senate to comply with the constitution by confirming the names of the 11 persons sent to it rather than forward same to the Senate for confirmation as was done on July 7.
Section 256(2) provides that “The appointment of a person to the office of a Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, shall be made by the president on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council.”
Those joined as respondents are: President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, the Senate of the Federal Republic, the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Clerk of the Senate, the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, and the National Judicial Council.
The persons involved 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.
In a statement, the lawyer insisted that the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, and the NJC yielded to the clamour for more judges in the FCT High Court to ease the workload on the FCT High Court to meet the cosmopolitan nature of the FCT, but “it is absurd that the president decided to send only 11 names out of the 33 names painstakingly and thoroughly screened/interviewed and recommended by the NJC to the president since April this year.”