NBA SPIDEL Condemns Obaseki’s Refusal To Swear In Judges

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The Nigeria Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL) has described as an abuse of office and a breach of constitutional powers, the refusal of Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, to swear in judges recommended by the National Judicial Council (NJC) for appointment in the state.

In a statement by its Chairman, John Aikpokpo-Martins and its Secretary, Funmi Adeogun, SPIDEL demanded the immediate confirmation of the appointments of the eight judicial officers which had been made since June 2023.

“The duty of the Governor of Edo State to swear-in these Judicial Officers is a constitutional obligation and not one to be observed at the pleasure of the Governor.

“Consequently, the continued delay to swearing-in the new judicial officers is an abuse of power and an outright disregard for the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended),” the statement read.

Citing the provisions of section 271(2) of the Constitution, SPIDEL said that Obaseki’s failure to swear in the judges has occasioned an impairment to the justice delivery system in the state, adding that there is currently a paucity of Judges to attend to the increasing number of cases thereby overburdening the existing jurists in the state with great workload.

“Furthermore, this delay has greatly impaired the financial means of the designated judicial officers who are all currently idling away without any means of sustenance for themselves and their families as they can no longer, by virtue of their appointment as judicial officers, practice as lawyers.

“In the light of the foregoing, SPIDEL unequivocally demands the swearing-in of the Judicial Officers designate by the Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki. We hope that the Governor will act accordingly and perform his constitutionally imposed duties in order to ensure that the justice delivery system in Edo State is not completely crippled.

“Again, the unfortunate scenario in Edo State by which the Governor, a member of the Executive, has held the judiciary by the jugular, brings to fore the overarching necessity to completely insulate the Executive arm of Government from the appointment process of judicial officers or at best allow the executive or any other arm of government to play a merely nominal role in the process,” SPIDEL stated.

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