Supreme Court Justices’ Appointment: Lawyer Withdraws Suit Against Buhari

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A Lagos-based lawyer, Lawrence Nnoli, says he is withdrawing a suit he filed in July against President Buhari, over the delay in the appointment of more Supreme Court Justices.

The lawyer said the suit, which had been scheduled for hearing on October 6 at the Federal High Court in Lagos, would no longer be necessary as the Senate had on Tuesday confirmed the receipt of a letter from Buhari, seeking approval for the appointment of eight Justices to the Supreme Court.

Nnoli said in the light of the development, his suit against Buhari had become academic and he would accordingly withdraw it.

If Buhari gets the Senate approval, the number of Supreme Court Justices will rise to 20 from the current 12.

Though the Nigerian Constitution provides for 21 Justices at the Supreme Court, the number had over the years dwindled down, following successive retirement of the apex court Justices without corresponding replacement.

In his suit before Justice Mohammed Liman, Nnoli had contended that Buhari’s failure to appoint more Supreme Court Justice was “a serious breach of Section 231(2) of the 1999 Constitution and poses a grave danger to the course of justice in Nigeria.”

But in a statement on Wednesday, titled, ‘Notice to the Public/Update’, Nnoli said when he gets to court on October 6, he would be applying to withdraw the suit.

He said, “As it would be recalled, the Federal High Court on 23rd July, 2020 granted me leave to bring an application for an order of mandamus against President Mohammadu Buhari over his refusal and failure to appoint and send to the Senate the names of the four Supreme Court Justice-nominees recommended to him by the National Judicial Council since October 2019.

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“Though the Chief Justice of Nigeria, represented by Mr Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), has responded to my suit and has joined issues with me on the propriety of the suit, my proposed withdrawal of the suit stems from the fact that President Buhari has yesterday, 29th September, 2020 complied with the demands of my application before the court by appointing and sending to the Senate for approval, the names of the four Supreme Court Justice-nominees recommended to him by the National Judicial Council since October 2019 and of which I seek the order of mandamus against him.

“It will therefore serve no use for me to continue the action as same will amount to a mere academic exercise.”

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