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Home » 7 SANs Sue Kogi Govt., NJC, Says Bello’s Wife Doesn’t Meet Criteria To Be High Court Judge Amongst Others

7 SANs Sue Kogi Govt., NJC, Says Bello’s Wife Doesn’t Meet Criteria To Be High Court Judge Amongst Others

Seven Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) have dragged the National Judicial Council (NJC) and the Kogi State government to court over shortlist for appointments into the state’s judiciary.

The Plaintiffs seeks for an Interlocutory Injunction, restraining the defendants, their agents, privies and servants from fixing dates for interview of the shortlisted candidates as well as from inviting them for any meeting or from performing any other such functions in relation to the subject matter of this suit pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.

Also joined in the suit filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja, are: Kogi State Judicial Service Commission, the Attorney General and the Commissioner For Justice Of Kogi State as defendants.

In the Originating Summons with Suit No: FCT/ABJ/CS/05/2024, the Plaintiffs, by Chief Yunus Ustaz Usman and J.S Okutepa. Others are Patrick Okolo, Abdullahi Haruna, Reuben Atabo, Shaibu Aruwa and Johnson Usman, argued that the selection process violated regulations and constitutional principles of fairness, equity, and merit.

SaharaReporters reported on October 26, 2023 that about 17 Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) from Kogi State called for the suspension of appointment of new Judges into the state judiciary until certain criteria are met.

The lawyers made the demand in a letter to the Chief Judge and Chairman of Kogi State Judicial Service Commission, Justice Josiah Majebi, which was dated October 20, 2023.

Titled “RE: Provisional Short-list Of Candidates Of Ten Judicial Officers Of The High Court Of Justice Shariah Court Of Appeal And Customary Court Of Appeal,” the indigenous Kogi SANs stated that appointment of Judges to superior courts of record is regulated and requires provision of basic facilities such as availability of court rooms/Judges chambers, official cars, residential accommodation as well as equipped library in Judges’ chambers, citing Rules 1-5 of National Judicial Council Revised Guidelines.

In the 12-point issues raised in the letter signed by Yunus Ustaz Usman, Life Bencher for himself and on behalf of 16 other Senior Advocates, the legal luminaries also pointed out that the proposed candidates listed for appointments of judges did not reflect the geographical spread. They noted that the list is lopsided to the disadvantage of other parts of the State.

According to the letter, the candidates listed for customary Court of Appeal are all from Kogi Central and there is no candidate from Kogi East or Kogi West, noting that there are qualified persons from Kogi East and Kogi West that were not selected.

Meanwhile, the legal luminaries, the suit filed today, January 8, 2024, before an Federal High Court, Abuja Division stated that the list were tainted with ethnic and political interference.

Amongst issues raised is the inclusion of Governor Yahaya Bello’s wife, Amina, as a proposed High Court judge when she neither has magistrate experience nor meets other requirements.

Apart from the fact that candidates where concentrated from Governor Bello’s Kogi Central district, the Plaintiffs pointed out that the selection of candidates in Kogi State for appointment as Judicial officers to the superior courts of record should be on the basis of “merits, competence, sound knowledge of law, fairness, equality and geographical spread within Kogi State devoid of ethnic and political considerations”.

Source: SR

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