After failed Supreme Court bid, Dongban-Mensem urges lawyers to apply as Appeal Court justices

President Court of Appeal Justice Monica Bolna’an Dongban-Mensem has invited application from lawyers wishing to serve as justices of the appellate court.

She said such legal practitioners should be qualified persons for consideration for appointment to the Court of Appeal bench.

The lawyers, according to her, will form part of the pool of applicants to be considered to fill the 16 present and imminent vacancies in the appellate court.

Failed bid

The announcement is coming nine months after similar applications were invited from the NBA members as Supreme Court Justices by the immediate past Chief Justice of Nigeria Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad.

However, none of the six lawyers that applied for the top judicial job was considered for a seat in the apex court, a development that angered some senior members of the Bar who condemned the decision.

Fresh applications

In a fresh move, President Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau (SAN) asked members of the association to apply for the job of justices at the appellate court.

Maikyau said this in a statement issued Sunday by NBA National Publicity Secretary Lawal Habeeb Akorede.

The slots, the statement said, were available for the six geopolitical zones of North-east, South-south, Southeast, South-west, North-central and North-west, while qualified NBA members are to submit their applications on or before Wednesday, October 5, 2022.

“By a letter dated 28 September 2022 and received on 30 September 2022, the Honourable President of the Court of Appeal has requested the Nigerian Bar Association to recommend suitably qualified persons, for consideration for appointment to the Court of Appeal bench, to fill the present and imminent vacancies.

“The slots available for nomination are: (a) Two (2) slots for the North-Central geo-political zone “(b) Three (3) slots for the North-East geo-political zone; (c) Five (5) slots for the North-West geo-political zone; (d) Three (3) slots for the South-East geo-political zone; (e) Two (2) slots for the South-West geo-political zone and  (f) One (1) slot for the South-South geo-political zone,” Maikyau said.

The statement further asked the NBA members “who are suitably qualified and are interested in applying for appointment to the Court of Appeal Bench”, to submit an expression of interest to the association’s National Secretariat on or before October 5, 2022.

It also said the applicants’ letters should be addressed to “The President, Nigerian Bar Association c/o Ayodeji Oni, Esq., Head, Legal Services Department Nigerian Bar Association, National Secretariat Plot 1101 Cadastral Zone A00, Central Business District, Abuja.”

The letters, the NBA said, should include: “A copy of the applicant’s Curriculum Vitae, a copy of the applicant’s Call to Bar Certificate, Evidence of payment of Bar Practicing Fees (BPF) as and when due, for the past 10 years, Evidence of payment of NBA Branch Dues as and when due, for the past 10 years. Evidence of attendance at Conferences of the NBA and Evidence of membership of Sections or Fora of the NBA.”

“For legal practitioners in private practice, certified true copies of at least five judgments delivered in contested cases conducted by the applicant in the five years preceding 2022.

“A letter of good standing from the Chairman of the applicant’s Branch confirming that he or she possesses the qualities set out in Rule 4(4)(1)(a), (b) and (d) of the National Judicial Council Guidelines for the Appointment of Judicial Officers for Superior Courts of Record.

“For the avoidance of doubt, these qualities are reproduced hereunder ‘in all cases: a) good character and reputation, diligence and hard work, honesty, integrity and sound knowledge of the law and consistent adherence to professional ethics; as may be applicable:

“Active successful practice at the Bar, including satisfactory presentation of cases in Court at a Legal Practitioner either in private practice or as a Legal Officer in any Public Service:

“Credible record of teaching law, legal research in a reputable University and publication of legal works…,” the statement further added.

He said upon receipt of the expressions of interest, the National Secretariat shall publish the names of the interested candidates and request comments thereon from members of the NBA.

The NBA said:  “For further enquiries, kindly call Ayodeji on the following phone number: 0803 345 2825.”

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