…By Dorcas Funmi for TDPel Media.
The National Judicial Council (NJC) has begun the process of appointing eight new justices to fill vacant seats on the bench of the Supreme Court.
The aim is to restore the court’s full complement of 21 justices, as the number of judges has decreased to 13 since August of the previous year.
This reduction in the number of justices has resulted in an excessive workload for the existing judges.
Notification of Nominations:
Justice Ariwoola, the Head of the NJC, has issued notices to various entities, including the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), heads of courts, and judges of the Supreme Court, requesting nominations for candidates to fill the available slots on the court’s bench.
Call for Submissions:
The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Yakubu Maikyau (SAN), has urged lawyers from regions with openings on the Supreme Court bench to submit their expression of interest to the NBA secretariat in Abuja.
In an email addressed to lawyers, Maikyau emphasized the importance of interested and suitably qualified lawyers submitting their applications by the deadline of 21 June.
Lawyers who have been called to the Nigerian bar for a minimum of 15 years are eligible for direct appointment from the bar to the Supreme Court bench.
Regional Distribution of Openings:
The available slots for new justices are distributed on a regional basis.
Currently, the South-east has two vacancies, the South-south has one, the South-west has two, the North-central has two, and the North-west has one.
The Northeast is the only geo-political zone in Nigeria without a vacant slot at present.
Current Supreme Court Judges:
The existing Supreme Court judges and the geopolitical zones they represent are as follows: CJN Ariwoola from Oyo State (South-west), Justice Musa Dattijo Muhammad from Niger State (North-central), Justice Kudirat Motonmori Olatokunbo Kekere-Ekun from Lagos State (South-west), Justice John Inyang Okoro from Akwa Ibom State (South-south), Justice Chima Centus Nweze from Enugu State (South-east), Justice Amina Adamu Augie from Kebbi State (North-west), and Justice Uwani Musa Abba Aji from Yobe State (North-east).
Other justices include Justice Mohammed Lawal Garba from Zamfara State (North-west), Justice Helen Moronkeji Ogunwumiju from Ondo State (South-west), Justice M.M. Saulawa from Katsina State (North-west), Justice Adamu Jauro from Gombe State (North-east), Justice Tijjani Abubakar from Yobe State (North-east), and Justice Emmanuel Akomaye Agim from Cross River State (South-south).
With the initiation of the appointment process, the National Judicial Council aims to restore the Supreme Court’s bench to its full complement of 21 justices.
Interested and qualified lawyers have been called upon to submit their applications within the specified timeframe.
Once the selection process is complete, the new justices will help alleviate the burden on the current judges and contribute to the effective functioning of the apex court in Nigeria.
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