Following a rash of viral postings and newspaper reports showing skewed recommendations for appointments to the bench of the Court of Appeal, the National Judicial Council (NJC) has offered an explanation in an attempt to douse tension and raging anger.
NJC spokesman, Mr. Soji Oye, said the reports were a figment of the imagination of the on-line media as the exercise is on-going and no candidate has been recommended so far.
He added: “To put the records straight, appointment of Judicial Officers to the Court of Appeal is done on merit and geographical spread.
“Section 2 of Court of Appeal (Amendment) Act, 2013, governing the appointment of Justices of Court of Appeal provides that the total number of Justices to be appointed should not be more than 90 plus the President. The Court however, currently has 76 Justices leaving vacancy for additional 14 Justices. Of the 76 Justices of the Court, the North Central with 6 States and FCT has 12 Justices; North-East with 6 States has 12 Justices plus the President; North-West with 7 States has 9 Justices; South-East with 5 States has 13 Justices; South-South with 6 States has 14 Justices and South-West with 6 States has 15 Justices.
“In considering appointment for the 14 vacancies, and to ensure that each zone is adequately presented, all States that have 3 serving Justices were not considered unless under special circumstances.
“The States not considered are:
Anambra, Bauchi, Borno, Cross-River, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Gombe, Imo, Kogi, Kwara and Oyo.
“States like Adamawa, Kebbi and Sokoto have zero representation which informed the need to include them in the current exercise.
“Appointments are made to the Court based on the elevation of Appeal Court Justices to the Supreme Court, retirement at the age of 70 years, or death. Such vacancies are filled with Judicial Officers from the Zone of the Judge who died, retired or elevated.
“It is therefore unfair for the online media to claim that the National Judicial Council recommended no Candidate from the South-East which currently has 13 Justices at the Court of Appeal.”
He advised journalists to always balance their report to avoid litigation.
The original message that sparked off the anger and reports read:
“#SHAME: LIST OF NEWLY APPOINTED JUDGES. – Hope For Nigeria
1) Justice P. A. Mahmoud, Benue State
2) Justice F. Ojo, Kwara State [NC]
3] Justice I. G. Abundaga Nasarawa State
4] Justice M. B. Idris, Niger State.
5] Justice A. M. Talba, Adamawa State.
6] Justices Kadi M. M. Alkali, Adamawa State.
7] Justice A. I. Adenyangtso, Taraba State.
8] Justice A. S. Umar, Kebbi state.
9] Justice O. Z. Senchi, Kebbi,
10] Justice A. M. Lamido, Sokoto state.
11] Justice B. B. Aliyu, Zamfara state.
12] Justice Ebowei Tobi, Delta State.
13] Justice G.O. Kolawole, Osun State.
14] Justices O. Itodo, Benue state.
15] Justice M. A. Abdul Gafar, Kwara state,
16] Justice D. D. Adeck Nasarawa state.
17] Justice D. G. Mann, Plateau state.
18] Justice D. G. Goji Adamawa state.
19] Justice Kadi U. B. Umar Adamawa state.
20] Justices Y. A. Bashir, Taraba state.
21] Justice Z. B. Abubakar, Kebbi state,
22] Justice I. M. Sani, Kaduna state.
23] Justice F. L. Adamu, Kano state.
24] Justice I. B. Ahmed Katsina state.
25] Justice M Y Uftsha’u, Zamfara state.
26] Justice P. O. Affen, Bayelsa state.
27] Justice O. A. Ipaye, Osun state. – Hope For Nigeria
“NO ONE FROM SOUTH EAST (SE) WAS APPOINTED.
*ACCORDING TO NYSC RECORDS, 52% – 54% OF NYSC MEMBERS ARE FROM THE SE.
*Over 55% of those that passed JAMB are also from the SOUTH EAST.
“In the attempt to deliberately Marginalise the SOUTH EAST, Nigeria is destroying its own growth and developmental potentials by over 50%. Choosing to go for average when the best are in abundance East of Niger.
“Look also at the Northern appointees, how many Christians were selected. – Hope For Nigeria.
“SHARE, SHARE TO STOP THIS DISCRIMINATION.”