Court Dismisses Suit Seeking To Stop 21 Judges’ Appointment
Posted: 01/Oct/2020

The Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday dismissed a suit opposing the appointment of 21 persons on the list of 33 candidates recommended to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), for appointment as judges of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory.

Justice Okon Abang, in his judgment, held that the plaintiff, Justice Reform Project Foundation, which is a group of lawyers, mostly Senior Advocates of Nigeria, lacked the locus standi to institute the suit to challenge the process of appointment of the judges.

Buhari had picked 11 of the names on the list recommended to him in April by the National Judicial Council, and those picked had since been sworn in by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad.

Justice Abang, who upheld the preliminary objection filed against the JRP’s suit, said the group failed to prove that it had any interest in the matter.

He added that the Federal High Court lacked jurisdiction to hear the suit.

Justice Abang said since the suit bordered on employment of judges, it should have been filed at the National Industrial Court.

He, however, said it would be baseless to transfer the suit to the National Industrial Court as alternatively prayed by the plaintiff, since the plaintiff, in any case, lacked the locus standi to file the suit.

The plaintiff had in its suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/602/2020 and filed on June 10, 2020 described the recommendation of the candidates by the NJC to the President as improper, adding that the 21 candidates were unsuitable for the appointment.

The Chairman of the Governing Board of the JRP Foundation, Mrs Funke Adekoya (SAN), stated in the affidavit filed in support of the group’s suit that the recommendation of 21 of the candidates was marred by “impropriety, anomalies and procedural irregularities”.