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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Eight Supreme Court judges’ swearing-in suffers delay after Senate confirmation

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The appointment of more justices to the Supreme Court, which was held back by President Muhammadu Buhari for over a year, has continued to suffer delay two weeks after the Senate confirmed eight justices of the Court of Appeal for appointment to the apex court’s bench.

Recall that before the Senate confirmation on October 13, 2020, four of the eight nominees had been recommended to the President for appointment since October 2019, but he did not act on the list until August this year when an additional list, comprising four northern nominees, was forwarded to him by the National Judicial Council.

The President sent the names of the eight nominees to the Senate in October.

The four earlier recommended nominees are Justices Helen Ogunwumiju (South-West), Adamu Jauro (North-East), Samuel Oseji (South-South), and Emmanuel Agim (South-South).

The new four candidates are Justices Lawal Garba, (North-West), Abdu Aboki (North-West), M. M. Saulawa (North-West), and Tijani Abubakar (North-East).

The cause of the undue delay in swearing in the eight candidates after the Senate confirmation is unclear.

Ordinarily, once the candidates are confirmed by the Senate, the President sends his approval of their appointment to the Chief Justice of Nigeria who usually within 24 to 48 hours swears in the candidates.

When contacted, the Director of Information of the Supreme Court, Dr Festus Akande, told our correspondent on Sunday that no date had been fixed for the swearing in of the eight justices.

The Supreme Court currently has 12 Justices on its bench even though the Nigerian Constitution provides for a full complement of 21 for the apex court.

Two senior lawyers, Mr Jibrin Okutepa (SAN), and Mr Femi Falana (SAN), expressed concerns about the delay in inaugurating the eight justices on Sunday.

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