Court Strikes Out Suit Seeking to Quash Appointment of Court of Appeal Judges

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The federal high court in Abuja has struck out a suit seeking to quash the recent appointment of appeal court justices.

In a judgement on Friday, Inyang Ekwo, the presiding judge, dismissed the suit which had argued that the south-east region was marginalised in the selection process.

The court also held that the plaintiff lacked the legal right to institute the suit.

President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the appointment of 18 new justices following a recommendation by the National Judicial Council (NJC).

However, the plaintiff, the Incorporated Trustees of Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF), had approached the court to challenge the exclusion of the south-east zone.

Defendants in the suit are the NJC, Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC), president of the court of appeal, the federal character commission, and Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation.

The plaintiff, through its lawyer, Max Ozoaka, had alleged that the defendants breached their oaths of office and acted in violation of section 14 (3) and other relevant provisions of the constitution.

Ozoaka said the principles of the federal character were breached in the way and manner the justices were nominated and urged the judge to nullify the exercise.

But Paul Usoro, counsel to the NJC, noted that the plaintiff is an Igbo socio-cultural organisation whose aims and objectives do not include instituting cases of public interest.

He also argued on the basis that copies of the certificate of incorporation of the group showed that it was approved by a court registrar.

He stated that only officials of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) had the authority to certify such documents and asked the court to dismiss the case.

Ibrahim Muhammad, chief justice of Nigeria, had fixed April 29, to swear in the justices.

But the inauguration ceremony was postponed indefinitely owing to the JUSUN strike at the time.

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