Federal High Court adjourns suit on appointment on judges to March 4

 

The Federal High Court in Abuja has asked the Chief National Judicial Council, the Chief Justice of Nigeria and the Federal Judicial Service Commission to show reasons why it should not grant an order stopping the process of appointment of Judges to the FCT High Court.

Justice E. I Ekwo gave the order while ruling on a motion ex-parte brought before the court by Azubuike Nicholas Oko, a native of Ebonyi State alleging the exclusion of his state from the list of shortlisted candidates for appointment.

The House of Representatives had earlier adopted a motion asking the National Judicial Council to discontinue the process of appointing judges for the FCT High Court until qualified candidates from Ebonyi State are included in the list of candidates.

The House resolution followed a motion by Igarewey Iduma Enwo alleging disregard to the provision of the constitution and NJC guidelines in the appointment process.

In his ruling, Justice Ekwo asked the Plaintiff to put the Defendants on Notice of the Motion Ex Parte within two days of this order and serve them all processes filed in the suit.

He said the defendants should, on the next adjourned date, show cause why prayers on the Motion Ex Parte should not to be granted, while adjourning case to 4th of March 2024, for the Defendants to show cause.

In his originating summon, the Plaintiff asked the Court to determine whether by the combined provision and proper interpretation of sections 14(3),42, 256(2)&(3), and item 21(ii) of Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended, and Rule 3(6iv) of the NJC Guidelines and Procedural Rules, the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Defendants are under constitutional obligation to comply with the provisions of section 14(3), and 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, in the appointment of judges to fill the twelve vacant positions in the High Court of FCT.

The Plaintiff is also seeking a declaration that the perennial and persistent exclusion of Ebonyi State from this list of states where qualified lawyers are selected for appointment as judges of the High Court of Federal Capital Territory amounts to marginalisation and discrimination of lawyers from  Ebonyi State on the basis of their place of origin and ethnic group, contrary to the provisions of sections 14(3) and 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Rule 3(6iv) of the National Judicial Council Guidelines and Procedural Rules

He also wants a declaration that the listing, nomination and or selection of lawyers from Kogi and Oyo States, which already have two judges each, in the High Court of FCT, for appointment as judges of the High Court of FCT, against Ebonyi State, which does not have any sitting judge at all is unjust, inequitable, unfair, and amounts to the unprecedented breach of the provisions of section 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, and Rule 3(6iv) of the NJC Guidelines and Procedural Rules.


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