Retiring Supreme Court Justice Datijo Muhammad has alleged that the refusal to fill the vacant slot of South East on the apex court bench was deliberate, blaming it on “absolute powers vested in the office of the CJN.”
He said that with his retirement, the North Central zone, which he represented, would no longer have a Justice on the Supreme Court bench.
“My lord Hon. Justice Ejembi Eko JSC, who also represented the zone, retired on 23rd of May, 2022. It has been a year and five months now. There has not been any replacement.
“With the passing of my lord, Hon. Justice Chima Centus Nweze, JSC on 29th July 2023, the South East no longer has any presence at the Supreme Court. My lord, Hon. Justice Sylvester Nwali Ngwuta JSV died on 7th March 2021. There has not been any appointment in his stead for the South East.
“As it stands, only four geo-political regions- the South-West, South-South, North-West and North-East are represented in the Supreme Court.
“While the South-South and North-East have two serving justices, the North-West and South-West are fully represented with three each.
“Appropriate steps could have been taken since to fill outstanding vacancies in the apex court. Why have these steps not been timeously taken?
“It is evident that the decision not to fill the vacancies in the court is deliberate. It is all about the absolute powers vested in the office of the CJN and the responsible exercise of same.”