The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) has called on the National Judicial Council (NJC) to reject the list compiled by Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC) for the appointment of Appeal Court justices, which was said to have been allegedly compromised by politicians at the commission.
The leaders in a statement jointly signed yesterday evening by Mr. Yinka Odumakin (South-west), Chief Guy Ikoku (South-east), Senator Bassey Henshaw (South-south), and Dr. Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt), expressed shock by the latest list of nominated candidates, saying that all the candidates picked from the North excluded Christians.
The statement alleged that the merit list submitted to the Commission by the President of the Court of Appeal (PCA), Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem was rejected.
“It is part of the constitutional responsibilities of the PCA to scrutinise candidates and present a list of competent and qualified candidates to FJSC for consideration and onward transmission to the National Judicial Council for appointment,” the statement said.
The statement noted that of the 20 candidates on the preferred list, all the candidates picked from the North excluded Christians, alleging that three khadis were on board for a court that needs experts in various areas of law, including customary law.
According to the statement, the list of the PCA was said to have reflected all such needs but was whimsically overturned at the FJSC under the guise of Federal Character.
“But for the nepotism that is celebrated in Nigeria today, what is the basis of not having a Christian on such list from entire northern Nigeria? We cannot accept that a multi-ethnic and religious country is being treated this way. We want them to call for the original list prepared by the President of the Court of Appeal to avoid lawsuit on the matter,” it said.
The shortlisted judges for interview by NJC priority candidates as listed by SMBLF include Hon. Kadi Mohammed Danjuma (Niger State Sharia Court of Appeal); Hon. Justice Muhammad Ibrahim Sirajo (Plateau State High Court); Hon. Justice Abdul-Azeez Waziri (Federal High Court, from Adamawa State); Hon. Justice Yisuf Alhaji Bashir, Hon. Justice Usman A. Musale (FCT High Court, from Yobe State); Hon. Justice Ibrahim Wakili Jauro (Yobe State High Court); Hon. Justice Abba Bello Mohammed (FCT High Court, from Kano State); Hon. Kadi Mohammed Lawal Omar (Katsina State Sharia Court of Appeal); Hon. Justice Bature Isah Gafai (Katsina State); Hon. Justice Danlami Zama Senchi ( FCT High Court, from Kebbi State).
Others are, ‘Hon. Kadi Bello Ladan Raha (Kebbi State Sharia Court of Appeal); Hon. Justice Mohammed Lawal Abubakar (Sokoto State High Court); Hon. Justice Muslim Sule Hassan (Federal High Court, from Zamfara State); Hon. Junneth Ikechukwu Amadi (National Industrial Court, from Imo State); Hon. Justice Peter Oyinkenimiemi Affen ( FCT High Court, from Bayelsa State); Hon. Justice Sybil Nwaka-Gbagi (Lagos High Court, from Delta State); Hon. Justice Olasumbo Goodluck (FCT High Court, from Lagos State); Hon. Justice Adebukunola Banjoko (FCT High Court, from Ogun State); Hon. Justice Olabode Adegbehingbe (Ondo State High Court); and Hon. Justice Bola Samuel Ademola (Ondo State High Court).