A Lagos-based lawyer, Lawrence Nnoli, has approached the Federal High Court in Lagos, with an application seeking to compel the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to appoint more Supreme Court Justices without further delay.
The Nigerian constitution provides for 21 Supreme Court Justices but following successive retirement of the Justices without corresponding replacement, the number has overtime dwindled to 12 while the number of appeals going to the court from all over the country keeps increasing.
In his suit before Justice Mohammed Liman, Nnoli said Buhari’s failure to appoint more Supreme Court Justice was “a serious breach of Section 231(2) of the 1999 Constitution and poses a grave danger to the course of justice in Nigeria.”
The lawyer said Buhari’s inaction was to blame for delayed justice at the Supreme Court.
He told the court that the National Judicial Council had since October last year recommended four Justices of the Court of Appeal to Buhari for appointment as Supreme Court Justices, but the President refused to forward their names to the National Assembly for screening and confirmation.
He identified the recommended Justices as Adamu Jauro, Emmanuel Agim, C. Oseji, and Helen Ogunwumiju.
According to Nnoli, Buhari is shirking his statutory duties and his inaction “poses a grave risk to the peace and progress of Nigeria as citizens’ confidence in the Supreme Court towards dispensing justice in a timely manner may be eroded owing to the insufficient number of Justices of the Supreme Court available.”
He is, therefore, seeking a court order to compel Buhari to perform his duties.
The defendants in the suit marked FHC/C/CS/897/2020 are Buhari, the National Judicial Council, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, and the Senate President.
The court has yet to fix a date for a hearing.