A group of like-minded senior lawyers under the aegis of ‘The Justice Reform Project’, (JRP) has asked a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja to restrain President Muhammadu Buhari from appointing as judges, 21 persons recently recommended to him by the National Judicial Council, NJC.
The group is also urging the court to grant a perpetual injunction stopping the President from approving the appointment of the 21 persons, as judges of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja has failed to meet conditions for such appointment.
JRP, was set up in February 2019 with membership cutting across senior and junior lawyers. It consists of not less than 20 Senior Advocates of Nigeria with members including Kayode Sofola, Tani Molajo, Funke Adekoya, Femi Atoyebi, and Yemi Candide-Johnson.
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Apart from the President, JRP has listed the NJC, the Judicial Service Committee of the FCT, the Attorney General of the Federation, and the 21 nominated persons (who include Magistrates and lawyers) as defendants in the suit.
JRP also wants the court to decide whether, the NJC or the Judicial service committee of the FCT, has the power to recommend for appointment as judges, any person who neither meets the criteria nor satisfy the conditions laid down in the extant Guidelines and Procedural Rules for the Appointment of Judicial Officers in Nigeria.
The group is seeking a declaration of the court that the 5th to 25th Defendants are not suitable persons for appointment as judges,
having failed to meet the criteria and satisfy the conditions set out in the extant Guidelines and Procedural Rules.
In a 24 paragraph-affidavit sworn to by the Chairman of the JRP Governing Board, Mrs. Funke Adekoya (SAN), the group says, “it is concerned about the dysfunctional justice system in Nigeria” and it has therefore embarked on a mission to restore and sustain the integrity of the judiciary in order to regain public confidence in the dispensation of justice in the Nigerian Courts.
The suit has been assigned to Justice Okon Abang who has fixed the 10th of July for hearing.