By Ikechukwu Nnochiri ABUJA—-As part of measures to reform the Justice sector, the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, has okayed nine senior lawyers for appointment as Justices of the Supreme Court. The list consists of six Senior Advocates of Nigeria and three active legal practitioners drawn from different parts of the federation. *Agbakoba Already, NBA which is the umbrella body of lawyers in the country, has forwarded names of the nominees to the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen.
Those nominated for elevation into the apex court bench are a former President of the legal body and constitutional lawyer, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, (Anambra), former Attorney General of Abia State and regular contributor on Vanguard law page, Chief Awa Kalu, SAN.
Others are Yunus Ustas Usman, SAN, (Kogi), Anthony Ikemefuna Idigbe, SAN, (Delta), Babatunde Fagbohunlu, SAN, (Ondo), Miannayaaja Essien, SAN, (Rivers). As well as Prof. Awalu Hamish Yadudu, (Kano), Tajudeen Oladoja, (Kwara) and Ayuba Giwa, (Edo). The nine nominated lawyers were called to the Nigerian Bar between 1978 and 1988.
They were selected from a total of 89 candidates that submitted Expression of Interest Forms to the NBA. There was has been clamour in recent times for a break in the age-long tradition of only elevating Senior Justices of the Court of Appeal into the Apex Court bench.
In his bid to reposition the judiciary which has had its image badly battered by corruption allegations that culminated to the arrest of two serving Supreme Court Justices, the Acting CJN, Justice Onnoghen, gave NBA the nod to recommend lawyers to be appointed Justices. Justice Onnoghen made the request barely one week after President Buhari appointed him to head the judiciary in acting capacity.
Specifically, the Acting CJN directed the NBA President, Mr. Abubakar Mahmoud, SAN, “to nominate suitable candidate for consideration as Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.”
Justice Onnoghen doubles as Chairman of both the Federal Judicial Service Commission, FJSC, and the National Judicial Council, NJC, which approves the appointment of Judges. According to section 230 of the 1999 constitution, as amended, the Supreme Court shall consist of the CJN and such number of Justices not exceeding 21, as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly.
Whereas section 231(2) of the constitution stipulates that: “The appointment of a person to the office of a Justice of the Supreme Court shall be made by the President on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council subject to confirmation of such appointment by the Senate”. 231(3) provides that a person shall not be qualified to become a Justice of the apex court unless he is qualified to practise as a legal practitioner in Nigeria and has been so qualified for a period of not less than fifteen years.
Read more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/02/nba-okays-agbakoba-kalu-usman-6-others-appointment-s-court-justices/