Nigerian lawyers react to supreme court nominations
Following the nomination by the Nigerian Bar Association of nine senior lawyers to be appointed into the Supreme Court Bench, a section of lawyers have expressed grievances at the selection process.
The monthly branch meeting of the association in Lagos was characterised by rancour as members who gathered
At it’s February which held on Monday 13th, a fraction of members expressed concern at the nomination and shortlisting process for the appointment of supreme court justices.
There were assertions that a new cabal was about to hijack the process, one similar to “an existing cabal which currently takes all benefits and privileges the Association has to offer.
When asked, they claimed that the timeframe given for submission of interest was made unreasonably short as a deliberate attempt to thwart the process and frustrate a large number of lawyers with interests.
Speaking on this development, a very senior lawyer, Pa Tunji Gomez expressed displeasure at the processing, stating that it was necessary for the branch to stage a protest against any attempt to debauch the process for the appointment of new justices.
He advised the Lagos Branch of the Association to write the National Executive of the Association rejecting the nominations and requesting that a new and more transparent process be used. Applauding the new law which allows the appointment of supreme court justices from the Bar, some other members of the branch urged the national body of the NBA not to rush process in other to avoid pitfalls ahead and any regrettable situations.
They cited the procedure for lower courts (i.e. the high courts), which takes three months; noting that there was no reason why the nominations for the highest court in the country should be done in less than 3 weeks.
The immediate past Chairman of the association, Alex Muoka, advised the members to sheath their swords as there was no need for the branch to be rebellious over a matter that was already decided and activated by the National Executive body. He urged the branch to support the parent body to ensure the process worked efficiently.
It would be recalled that following a call by the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon Justice Walter Onnoghen inviting the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to nominate suitably qualified legal practitioners to apply for appointment as Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, the NBA called out to interested legal practitioners and further shortlisted nine nominees for appointment as Supreme Court justices.
They are, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, SAN; Anthony Idigbe, SAN; Yunus Ustas Usman, SAN; Babatunde Fagbohunlu, SAN; Miannayaaja Essien, SAN; Awa Uma Kalu, SAN; Professor Awalu Hamish Yadudu; Tajudeen Oladoja and Ayuba Giwa.
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