President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Paul Usoro (SAN) has called for the immediate appointment of more justices of the Court of Appeal generally and in particular in the Lagos division of the court.
The NBA president made the call Wednesday during the special valedictory session of the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, in honour of Justice Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa, President of the Court of Appeal (PCA).
The PCA, will be bowing out from the judiciary on March 6, 2020, upon her attainment of the mandatory retirement age of 70.
Today, the number of justices at the Court of Appeal nationwide is around 90, while there are currently 13 Justices at the Supreme Court of Nigeria which cannot constitute two panels because seven justices of the apex court are required by the constitution to form a panel (in a fundamental human rights and constitutional appeal).
According to the NBA president, the justices of the Lagos division of the Court of Appeal in particular have been greatly overworked not just because of the litigious nature of Nigerians generally, but given the megacity status of Lagos and its position as the commercial capital of Nigeria with the attendant and inevitable multitude of legal conflicts.
“Ideally, the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal should have not less than three panels that sit regularly and consistently to reduce and spread the workload and that means, having more Justices of the Court of Appeal that are posted to the division”, Paul Usoro said.
Similarly, the House of Representatives on Thursday passed a resolution urging the federal government to appoint more justices of the Supreme Court. According to the lawmakers, this is to speed up dispensation of justice in the country.
The motion was raised as a matter of urgent public importance by the Chairman, House Committee on Judiciary, Onofiok Luke.