Lawyer writes CJN, says appointment of five Kwara High Court judges in order
A legal practitioner, Taofiq Olateju has asked the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Mohammed to disregard a petition calling for the rejection of five nominees recommended for appointment as new High Court judges in Kwara State.
Tribune Online recalls that the five judges were recommended by the Kwara State Judicial Service Commission.
But, another lawyer, Barrister Sambo Muritala, in a petition written to the National Judicial Council (NJC) headed by Justice Mohammed, called for the nullification of the appointments, saying the appointment process is a violation of the constitutional and statutory provisions.
While faulting the constitution of the Kwara State Judicial Service Commission, Barrister Muritala alleged that infrastructure including courtrooms and other logistics that would enhance the performances of the new judges were not available.
He alleged that the selection process was marred by nepotism and favouritism.
However, in a rejoinder to the petition made available to Tribune Online, Olateju appealed to Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara State and the Justice Mohammed-led NJC not to reject the five appointments.
Olateju who described the Muritala's petition as “misleading” and "self-contradicting," said the rejection of the appointment, if followed through, will amount to “judicial somersaulting."
He held that the petition suppressed the truth to allege that there are no available and facilities to accommodate new judicial officers, adding that there are more than five empty courts, library, judges' quarters, and others.
He also said the High Court of Justice Headquarter has 14 court rooms situated within the same court premises and other 8 places including Offa, Erin, Omuaran, Osi, Lafigi, Kaima.
The petition reads in part: "Hon Chief Judge S.D Kawu who led the Commission during the process of recruiting exercise strictly and fully adhered to the tenement of the Constitution and provisions of both Rules 4 and 5 NJC Guideline and Procedural Rules. And Kwara State Judicial Service Commission Regulation.
"The candidates were selected on merit not by blood affiliation, not by favouritism and nepotism as wrongly alleged.
"The recruitment exercise was conducted in accordance with law by calling for expression of interest from the general public on 26th August 2019 after the governor has given his approval and the NJC.
"The comment and recommendations of the Judges and DSS Security report are duly considered, contrary to the short managing of time as alleged. It is inevitable that in any activities there must be an end, not to be inform of snail cat walking.
Olateju prayed that the NJC constitutes an Investigation Committee to verify the available facilities, dismiss and withdraw Muritala’s petition in accordance with NJC (Discipline Regulation 2017).
He also prayed the NJC to appoint more judicial officers to relieve work overload on existing officers, adding that the subject matter of the petition has been overtaken by the already conclusion of shortlisted candidates and there is no need of suspension of recruitment exercises.