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NJC Excludes Former Kogi Gov’s Wife From Approved Judges List

The Nigerian Judicial Council (NJC) has removed  the name of Amina Bello, wife of the former governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, from the list of nominees for appointment as judges of the High Court of Kogi State.

 

This move comes after seven Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) filed a lawsuit against the NJC and the Kogi State government, challenging Amina’s inclusion in the list.

The lawsuit, filed on January 8 with Suit No: FCT/ABJ/CS/05/2024, argued that the selection process violated constitutional principles of fairness, equity, and merit.

The plaintiffs, including Chief Yunus Ustaz Usman and J.S. Okutepa, highlighted discrepancies in the appointment process, emphasizing the need for transparency and adherence to established guidelines.

Prior to this legal action, 17 SANs from Kogi State had demanded the suspension of new judge appointments until specific criteria were met.

In a letter addressed to Justice Josiah Majebi, Chief Judge and Chairman of Kogi State Judicial Service Commission, dated October 20, 2023, the lawyers emphasized the importance of fulfilling essential requirements such as adequate courtrooms, official vehicles, residential accommodation, and equipped libraries for judges.

Moreover, concerns were raised regarding the geographical representation of the candidates, with allegations of a lack of diversity in the proposed appointments.

The indigenous Kogi SANs pointed out that candidates for the Customary Court of Appeal predominantly hailed from Kogi Central, neglecting qualified individuals from other regions of the state.

Following these developments, Prof Chidi Odinkalu, former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, announced on his social media platform X (formerly Twitter) that the NJC had excluded Amina Bello from the list of nominees.

He praised the efforts of Yunus Ustaz Usman and other legal practitioners for advocating fairness and accountability in the judiciary.

The NJC’s decision to approve four names for judicial appointment, including Joseph Sunday Ajesola, Ojoma Rachael Ojoma, Bahamas Kadiri, and Ezema Beatrice Ada, reflects a step towards ensuring integrity and impartiality in the judiciary.

Additionally, recommendations for the appointment of Kadis and a judge for the Customary Court of Appeal signify a commitment to upholding the rule of law.

 

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