Nigerian Senate digs out and approves 8 justices for Supreme Court appointment, including four that were ignored since 2019.
Senators yesterday 13 October 2020 approved eight Court of Appeal judges for appointment as Supreme Court justices, agency reports said.
The approval brings to 20 the number of justices of the Supreme Court at any one time, a record in recent history.
Nominees were cleared by the Judiciary Committee whose Chair, Sen. Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti Central), recommended approval to the Senate.
They include Justices Lawal Garba, Helen Ogunwumiju, Abdu Aboki, Mohammed Saulawa, Adamu Jauro, Samuel Oseji, Tijjani Abubakar, and Emmanuel Agim.
Enugu Metro had reported that President had on 14 August forwarded names of four judges for appointment.
The new appointees were Mohammed Garba(North West), Tijani Abubakar(North East), Abdu Aboki(North West), and Mohammed M. Saulawa(North West).
The National Judicial Council (NJC) had in October 2019 recommended four Court of Appeal judges to fill vacancies in the Supreme Court.
Those recommended were Justices Jauro (North-East), Agim (South-South), Oseji (South-South), and Ogunwumiju (South-West).
Eyebrows were raised as the President’s list was made up of judges from regions in the North while 75 percent of NJC list was from South regions.
NJC recommendation was kept in the cooler until August when the President sent a different set of names for confirmation.
The Court now has Justices from North Central(2), North East(4), North West(4), South East(2), South South (4) and South West(4).
Although both South East and North Central have two justices each, Bamidele however apologised only for the North Central region.
Bamidele said the North Central had a candidate whose nomination was stood down by his committee for further NJC review.
He stated that, save for the North Central, “all geo-political zones will (now) be represented by three or four Justices.”
Bamidele may have added Justice Mary Odili to the South East number.
Although born in Imo State, she is married to former Rivers State Governor Peter Odili and is representing the South South.
One of the two justices fron the South East, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, will retire next year, 2021 leaving Justice Centus Nweze who still has eight more years to go.