A federal high court in Abuja has faulted President Muhammadu Buhari over his decision to forward the names of 11 candidates nominated as judges to the senate for confirmation.
Delivering judgment in a suit filed by Oladimeji Ekengba, an Abuja-based lawyer, Inyang Ekwo, the judge, held that the president contravened the provision of section 256(2) of the Nigerian constitution when he forwarded the names recommended by the National Judicial Council (NJC), to the senate.
In April, the NJC had recommended 33 persons for appointment as FCT high court judges.
But the list generated a controversy as different groups petitioned the president, demanding a rejection of over 20 names “for failing to meet the requirements for appointment”.
Multiple suits opposing the NJC list are pending before the federal high court.
Buhari had selected only 11 people and forwarded their names to the senate for confirmation.
The senate, however, refused to act on the president’s list, saying it lacked the powers to act in the appointment of FCT judges.
But on September 14, Ibrahim Muhammad, chief justice of Nigeria (CJN), swore in the 11 nominees into office as high court judges of the FCT.
In his suit, Ekengba challenged the president’s powers to choose only 11 out of the 33 candidates.
The judge, who agreed with the plaintiff (Ekengba), held that the only the appointment of heads of courts like the chief judge required confirmation by the senate.
However, Ekwo added that his judgment has no effect on the already appointed judges.
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