A document seen by SaharaReporters has exposed how serving and retired Nigerian judges are illegally preparing ways for his or her children and relatives to take over the country’s Judicial System in future.
According to the document put together by Open Bar Initiative, out of the 33 names recently recommended to President Muhammadu Buhari by the National Judiciary Council for appointment as judges within the Federal Capital Territory High Court, only 11 met the standards set out within the employment guideline of the council.
The NJC had on April 26, 2020 approved the appointment of 33 judges for the FCT supreme court .
SaharaReporters gathered that 22 out of the 33 candidates presented to President Buhari made the list only because they were associated with serving senior members of the judiciary or close aides and members of the NJC.
Also, states that have already got judges within the FCT supreme court were reconsidered and given slots while nobody was considered qualified for appointment in Ebonyi, a state that has no existing judge.
Section 255 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), pegged qualification for becoming a judge within the supreme court of the FCT to a minimum of 10 years qualification as a legal practitioner.
Also Rule 4 of the NJC appointment of judges’ procedure, indicated only four classes of lawyers, who are qualified to apply and be recommended to be appointed as judges of a supreme court .
These are legal practitioners in private practice, legal practitioners publicly service, who are legal officers, chief registrar of a court, and chief magistrates.
Those listed within the document seen by SaharaReporters among the 33 nominees to be considered as judges by President Buhari but, who aren’t qualified include Njideka K. Nwosu-Iheme, a Grade 1 Magistrate, who is the daughter of Justice Mary Odili of the Supreme Court and daughter-in-law to Justice Nwosu-Iheme of the Court of Appeal, Agashieze Cyprian Odinaka, a Deputy Director at FCTA whose sister is the Presiding Justice, Court of Appeal in Akure, Ondo State, Fatima Abubakar Aliyu, a judiciary worker, who is the daughter of immediate-past President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Bulkachuwa, Kanyip Rosemary Indinya, a senior magistrate at FCT and wife of the President of the National Industrial Court and sister of a member of the National Judicial Council.
Others are Mimi Anne Katsina Alu-Apena, a senior magistrate and daughter of late Kastina Alu, former judge of Nigeria, Enenche Eleojo, Assistant Director at FCT supreme court and personal Assistant to the Chief Judge, FCT supreme court , Madugu Mohammed Alhaji, Josephine Obanor Enobie, Kayode Agunloye, Nwabulu Ngozika Chineze and Abubakar Babashani, who are senior staff of the FCT supreme court but haven’t attained the rank of chief registrar as stipulated by the constitution.
The list also includes one one Aliyu Halilu Ahmed, a Deputy Chief Registrar from Adamawa State judiciary, who has not attained the rank of a chief registrar.
The rest are Aminu Muhammad Abdullahi, Nwecheonwu Chinyere Elewe, Ibrahim Mohammed, Sadia Mu’azu Mayana, Aliyu Yunusa Shafa, Mohammed Zubairu, Binta Dogonyaro, Christopher Opeyemi Oba and Hafsat Lawan Abba-Aliyu, all magistrates from the FCT judiciary, who aren’t up to the rank of a chief magistrate as stipulated in Rule 4 of the NJC appointment of judges procedure.
SaharaReporters also gathered that one Olufola Olufolashade Oshin didn’t participate within the processes leading up to selection, interview or obtaining recommendation from a Chief Judge of a state but her name was inserted into the ultimate list transmitted to President Buhari at the instigation of some senior judicial officers believed to be top members of the Supreme Court.
Reacting to the event , Open Bar Initiative said, “The suggestion that judicial service in Nigeria is an inheritance transmitted from parents to children isn’t supported by the constitution or any other instrument under Nigerian law.
“This is an abuse of the constitution by those that must nominate judges for appointment.”
Co-convener of Open Bar Initiative and former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission in Nigeria, Prof Chidi Odinkalu, while reacting to matters, said, “These aren’t just unqualified nominees, they’re bad nominees because only bad people will want to become judges through smuggling. they’re going to make bad judges, we should always resist them and their sponsors.”