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HomeNationalIgbos drag NJC to court over lopsided appointment of Court of Appeal...

Igbos drag NJC to court over lopsided appointment of Court of Appeal judges

The group sought a court order compelling the defendants to replace the three vacancies in the South-East slots with three new judges from the geopolitical zone.

A lawsuit filed by the Alaigbo against the National Judicial Council’s ‘lopsided appointment of Court of Appeal judges has been adjourned.

On Wednesday, the Federal High Court, Abuja, fixed June 23 to hear the suit filed by a socio-cultural group, the Incorporated Trustees of Alaigbo Development Foundation.

The group also sued the Federal Judicial Service Commission, president of the Court of Appeal, Federal Character Commission, and the attorney general of the federation.

The Alaigbo, in an originating summons, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/347/21 dated March 15 and filed March 16 by its lawyer, Max Ozoaka, had urged Justice Inyang Ekwo to restrain the defendants from continuing the exercise pending the hearing and determination of the suit. 

The group sought a court order compelling the defendants to replace the three vacancies in the South-East slots with three new judges from the geopolitical zone.

In the application, they also asked the court to determine that “having regard to the oath of office of the defendants to uphold the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, and the true intendment of Section 14 (3) and other the relevant provisions of the Constitution, whether the defendants can completely ignore, disregard or infringe at will the principles of justice, fairness, equity, due process and federal character in the ongoing exercise of appointment of justices of the court of Appeal, particularly with regard to the South East Zone of the Federation,” among others.

When the matter was mentioned on March 29, Mr Ekwo held that the case ought to be heard expeditiously, ordering an abridgment of time within which the court could determine the matter.

The judge then adjourned the matter until April 8 for a hearing, but the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) stalled the lawsuit.

However, when the matter came up on Wednesday, counsel to the plaintiff, Mr Ozoaka, said he had served the defendants with hearing notices following the earlier court order.

He disclosed that the defendants served him with their counter-affidavits two days ago, and he would need time to respond.

Paul Usoro, who appeared for NJC, and counsel to second and third defendants, Y. C. Maikyau, attributed the delay to the strike action.

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