Court rejects suit challenging Supreme Court Justices’ appointment


A Federal High Court in Abuja has struck out a suit challenging last year’s elevation of four Justices of the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court.

The National Judicial Council (NJC) at its meeting held on October 22 and 23, 2029 recommended to President Muhammadu Buhari, the appointment of Justices Adamu Jauro (North-East Zone); Emmanuel A. Agim (South-South Zone); C. Oseji (South-South Zone); and Helen M. Ogunwumiju (South-West Zone) to the Supreme Court.

Shortly after the recommendation became public, a Lagos-based group, Access to Justice (AJ) sued, through its Registered Trustees, challenging the process leading to the choice of the four Justices nominated for elevation.

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In the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1450/2019, the plaintiff claimed, among others, that the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC) did not fully comply with the provisions of the
“Revised NJC Guidelines & Procedural Rules for the appointment of judicial officers of all superior courts of record in Nigeria” in arriving at the choice of the four Justices.

In a judgement on Friday, Justice Inyang Ekwo upheld the preliminary objection raised against the suit by the respondents and proceeded to strike it out.

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Justice Ekwo held that the plaintiff was without the requisite locus standi (the legal right to initiate the suit) before the court.

The judge was of the view that the Registered Trustees of the AJ failed to prove, through credible evidence, that it was a registered corporate personality in the country.

Justice Ekwo held that the plaintiff’s claim to have been registered under Section 590(1), Part C of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) did not confer it with the power to engage in public interest litigation, among other combative activities.

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