The National Judicial Council, NJC, has responded to criticisms which have trailed a list of 14 justices recommended for the Court of Appeal.
Several reports had criticised the NJC over the fact that not a single judge in the circulating list hails from the South East. Now the Council is pushing back, through a statement on Wednesday, November 29, 2017 by Soji Oye, the director of information of the NJC.
The judicial body says it has not favoured or marginalised any region in the appointment but worked strictly on merit..
“According to Section 2 of the Court of Appeal (Amendment) Act, 2013, the total number of justices to be appointed into the Court of Appeal should not be more than 90, including the president. At present, the court has 76 justices leaving a balance of 14,” Oye said in the statement.
The NJC also said that the list currently circulating is inaccurate as no candidate has been recommended so far.
“The current composition of the court: Of the 76 justices of the court – the North-central with six states plus FCT has 12 justices; North-east with six states has 12 justices plus the president; North-west with seven states has nine justices; South-east with five states has 13 justices; South-south with six states has 14 justices and South-west with six states has 15 justices,” the statement continued.
“In considering appointment for the 14 vacancies, and to ensure that each zone is adequately represent, all states that have three serving justices were not considered unless under special circumstances.
“The states not considered are: Anambra, Bauchi, Borno, Cross River, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Gombe, Imo, Kogi, Kwara and Oyo.
“States like Adamawa, Kebbi and Sokoto have zero representation which informed the need to include them in the current exercise.
The council said it was therefore unfair to claim that it recommended no candidate from the South-east which currently has 13 justices at the Court of Appeal.