Appointment of Appeal Court Justices – 4 NBA Chairmen write CJN, Protest against Grave Injustice To Ogun State Judiciary
…Demands A Second Look…
The Ogun State Bar Forum has petitioned the Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman of the National Judicial Council, Honourable Justice (Dr.) Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed, GCON, over the appointment of Appeal Court Justices.
In a protest letter signed by 4 NBA Chairmen of the forum, J. T. Ogunniyi, Ayodele, A. Omoniyi , Olabisi Abdul-Azeez and Mr. Felix Adetoro of NBA Ota Branch, NBA Ilaro Branch, NBA Ijebu Ode Branch and NBA Sagamu Branch respectively. They noted that while some other states have two names-one on the Preferred List and another on the Reserve List, the reverse is the case with Ogun state.
They maintained that the very last time a Judge from Ogun State Judiciary benefited from the exercise of elevation to the Court of Appeal was in 2008 and urged the Chief Justice of Nigeria to take a second look and remedy the situation in the interest of justice and fair play.
Read the Full Complaint Below
RE: APPOINTMENT OF APPEAL COURT JUSTICES – PROTEST AGAINST GRAVE INJUSTICE TO OGUN STATE JUDICIARY IN THE CURRENT EXERCISE
We members of the Ogun State Bar Forum register our sincere appreciation to Your Lordship for doing so much in ensuring that we have adequate personnel in terms of appointment of Justices into our Appellate Courts for effective disposal of the backlog of cases.
However, our attention has been drawn to the recent publication of the list of selected candidates for interview in respect of appointment as Honourable Justices of the Court of Appeal and we deem it necessary to make this representation to your esteemed office.
We have carefully scrutinized the names on the list as well as the judiciary formation from which they were selected and we discovered that of the 20 candidates on the preferred list and 20 candidates on the reserved list none comes from the Ogun State Judiciary.
We as critical stakeholders, write to express our displeasure to your Lordship, against what we consider an act of injustice done to the Ogun State Judiciary in the on-going exercise of elevation of Judges to the Court of Appeal.
The very last time that a Judge from Ogun State Judiciary benefited from the exercise of elevation to the Court of Appeal was in 2008, when Honourable Justice Lokulo-Sodipe was elevated and appointed as a Justice of the Court of Appeal.
It is imperative to stress further that as at today, the only other indigene of Ogun State on the Court of Appeal Bench right now, was appointed from outside the Ogun State Bench.
It follows that since 2009, no judge from the Ogun State Judiciary has been elevated to the Court of Appeal. Yet, we make bold to say, most respectfully, that we have some of the most hardworking and upright Judges in this Country on the Ogun State Bench.
In the current/on-going exercise, again, no Judge from the Ogun State Judiciary has been included in the list sent to the NJC for consideration. Yet, we are aware that there is a nominee from the Ogun State Judiciary with impeccable credentials and very high recommendations.
To our shock, we found, from the list that is in the public domain that the Judge whose name appears on the list sent to the NJC, as representing Ogun State, is again from outside the Ogun State Judiciary.
While it is conceded that any indigene of the state serving in another jurisdiction and qualified, is entitled to be considered, we submit, very respectfully, that it is most unfair and very demoralizing, for Judges in the Ogun State Judiciary to be consistently overlooked in preference for those from other jurisdictions when it is not the case that those in Ogun State have been found wanting in character, learning or experience but are in fact, able and deserving in every sense.
What makes the present exercise more baffling to the entire Bar in Ogun State is that while some other states have two names-one on the Preferred List and another on the Reserve List, (as has always been the practice), the case of Ogun State is very GLARINGLY different. There is only one name representing Ogun State on the Preference List, with NONE on the Reserve List. To demonstrate this glaring anomaly, Ondo State has TWO names on the Preference List, and TWO names on the Reserve List. Lagos State has ONE name on the Preference List and TWO names on the Reserve List. Delta State has ONE name on the Preference List and ONE name on the Reserve List.
While not questioning the discretion and prerogative of the Appointing Authorities, we believe most respectfully, that this situation deserves a second look and we passionately and very respectfully urge Your Lordship and the NJC to please do so.
As Lawyers who practice daily before the Honorable Judges of the High Court of Ogun State, we believe that our opinion on a very critical issue as this, being important stakeholders, should matter to the NJC. A situation where Judges who work very hard and are distinguished in character and integrity, to our knowledge, are constantly ignored or overlooked in matters of elevation, will definitely not encourage able Lawyers to come to serve on the Ogun State Bench.
On account of the above, we plead with your Lordship and the NJC to urgently look into our complaint and kindly remedy the situation in the interest of justice and fair play.
We assure your Lordship of our best regards, while looking forward to a favorable consideration of our humble request.
- J. T. Ogunniyi, FICMC (Chairman NBA Ota Branch)
- Ayodele A. Omoniyi (Chairman NBA Ilaro Branch)
3. Olabisi Abdul-Azeez (Chairman NBA Ijebu Ode Branch)
4. Mr. Felix Adetoro (Chairman NBA Sagamu Branch)
Prince P. A. Adesemowo
(Chairman NBA Caretaker Committee Abeokuta Branch)
- Hon Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour, Vice Chairman, NJC.
- Hon Justice Monica Dongbam-Mensem, President, Court of Appeal,
- His Excellency, Prince Dapo Abiodun, Governor of Ogun State,
- Hon Justice Mosunmola Dipeolu, The Hon Chief Judge of Ogun State
- Mr. Olumide Apata, President, Nigerian Bar Association
- Mr Gbolahan Adeniran, The Honourable Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Ogun State
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