By Vivian Okejeme
The National Judicial Council (NJC) has reacted to on online report that it recommended 14 Judges for appointment to the Court of Appeal, with none of the judges from the South-East making the list.
The Council, in its reaction, described the report as a figment of the imagination of the on-line media.
The NJC, however, admitted that there is an ongoing process for the appointment of new judges for the Appeal Court, adding that no candidate has been recommended so far.
In a statement signed by the Director of Information of the NJC, Mr. Soji Oye, the Council noted that the appointment of the judicial officers to the Court of Appeal is done on merit and geographical spread.
It also stated that all states that have 3 serving Justices were not considered in the 14 vacancies, unless under special circumstances.
“To put the records straight, appointment of judicial officers to the Court of Appeal is done on merit and geographical spread.
“Section 2 of Court of Appeal (amendment) Act, 2013, governing the appointment of Justices of Court of Appeal provides that the total number of Justices to be appointed should not be more than 90 plus the President. The Court, however, currently has 76 Justices leaving vacancy for additional 14 Justices.
“Of the 76 Justices of the Court, the North Central with 6 states and FCT has 12 Justices; North-East with 6 states has 12 Justices plus the President; North-West with 7 states has 9 Justices; South-East with 5 states has 13 Justices; South-South with 6 states has 14 Justices and South-West with 6 states has 15 Justices.
“In considering appointment for the 14 vacancies, and to ensure that each zone is adequately presented, all states that have 3 serving Justices were not considered unless under special circumstances.”
According to the statement, the states not considered are:
Anambra, Bauchi, Borno, Cross-River, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Gombe, Imo, Kogi, Kwara and Oyo.
States like Adamawa, Kebbi and Sokoto have zero representation which informed the need to include them in the current exercise.