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Court fixes June 25 for judgement in suit challenging appointment of a’court judges

Court fixes June 25 for judgement in suit challenging appointment of a’court judges
June 23
18:19 2021

The federal high court in Abuja has fixed June 25 for judgement in a suit seeking to quash the recent appointment of appeal court justices.

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Inyang Ekwo, judge of the federal high court, fixed the date on Wednesday after parties in the matter adopted their processes in relation to the suit.

President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the appointment of 18 new justices following a recommendation by the National Judicial Council (NJC).

However, the plaintiff, the Incorporated Trustees of Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF), had approached the court to challenge the exclusion of the south-east zone in the appointment.

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Defendants in the suit are the NJC, Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC), president of the court of appeal, the federal character commission, and Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation.

In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/347/2021, the plaintiff, through their lawyer, Max Ozoaka, alleged that the defendants breached their oaths of office and acted in violation of section 14 (3) and other the relevant provisions of the constitution.

Ozoaka alleged that the principles of the federal character was breached in the way and manner the new appeal court justices were nominated, and urged the judge to nullify the exercise.

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But Paul Usoro, counsel to the NJC, asked Ekwo to decline jurisdiction in the matter on the grounds that the plaintiff lacked legal right to institute the action.

Usoro told the court that the plaintiff was an Igbo socio-cultural organisation, and that the aims and objectives of the group does not include instituting cases of public interest.

He also disagreed on the premise that copies of the certificate of incorporation of the group showed that it was approved by a court registrar.

He stated that only officials of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) had the authority to certify such documents and asked the court to dismiss the case.

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Endorsing Usoro’s argument, Y.C. Maikyau, counsel to the second and third defendants, asked the court to dismiss the matter.

According to Maikyau, section 20 of the companies and allied matters act (CAMA), does not permit the group to embark on instituting such an action.

Meanwhile, Ibrahim Muhammad, chief justice of Nigeria, had fixed April 29, to swear in the justices.

But the inauguration ceremony was postponed indefinitely owing to the JUSUN strike at the time.

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