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Lawyers ask Buhari to approve 33 nominees for FCT high court

Lawyers ask Buhari to approve 33 nominees for FCT high court
July 14
00:56 2020

Legal practitioners under the aegis of Lawyers in Defence of Democracy have written to President Muhammadu Buhari, urging him to approve the list of 33 nominees recommended to him by the National Judicial Council (NJC).

The lawyers asked the president to “withdraw the incomplete list” of 11 persons sent to the senate, seeking their confirmation as judges of the federal capital territory (FCT) high court.

The lawyers, in their letter, said the 1999 constitution as amended does not require the senate to play any role in the appointment of judges of the FCT high court except for the chief judge of the FCT high court.

In the letter jointly signed by Tochukwu Ohazuruike, national coordinator of the group, and Ishaq Bello, publicity secretary, the legal practitioners made reference to sections 256(1) & (2) of the constitution  which provide: “The appointment of a person to the office of Chief Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja shall be made by the President on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council, subject to confirmation of such appointment by the Senate.

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“The appointment of a person to the office of a Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja shall be made by the president on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council.”

They said the president does not have the discretion to pick and choose 11 nominees from the list of 33 qualified candidates recommended to him by the National Judicial Council claiming that it would amount to unlawful usurpation of the exclusive constitutional functions of the NJC to so do.

“In the present circumstance any attempt to mislead the President to misconstrue and over reach his limited, narrowed  and circumscribed input in the appointment of FCT judges will inadvertently set bad precedence in eroding and subjugating the independence of the judiciary which Nigerian constitution jealously guards and protects” the letter read.

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They maintained that the 1999 constitution specifically stated the qualifications and requirements for being appointed a judge of the FCT high court.

“Hence, anybody or persons  seeking to surreptitiously and mischievously interfere, stampede and manipulate the Appointment of Judicial Officers for the FCT High Court based on mere NJC Guidelines ought reasonably to know that the said rules has no force of law and is null and void for being inconsistent with the provisions of Section 256(3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended,” the letter read.

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