Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, dismissed the suit challenging President Muhammadu Buhari’s appointment of 21 out of the 33 persons penciled down as judges in the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The judge, while ruling on the application brought by JRP Foundation Ltd/GTE, held that the plaintiff lacked locus standi to institute the case because they have not shown any special interest as to confer on them the locus to commence the suit against the parties.
While President Buhari is the first respondent in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/602/2020, the National Judicial Council (NJC), the Judicial Service Committee (JSC) of the FCT, Attorney General of the Federation and the 21 nominees were also listed in the matter by the plaintiff.
The plaintiff had asked the court to declare that in its exercise of its constitutional duties to recommend suitable persons to the NJC as judges of High Court of FCT, Abuja, the JSC must only recommend such persons as having met the criteria and satisfied the conditions set out in the extant Guidelines and Procedural Rules for the appointment of judicial officers in Nigeria made by the NJC.
“That in exercising its constitutional duties to recommend to the 1st defendant (The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria), from the list submitted by the 3rd defendant, persons to be appointed judges of High Court of FCT, Abuja, the 2nd defendant can only recommend such persons as have met the criteria and satisfied the conditions set out in its extant Guidelines and Procedural Rules for the appointment of judicial officers in Nigeria.
“That the 5th to 25th defendants, having failed to meet the criteria and satisfied the conditions set out in the extant Guidelines and Procedural Rules for the appointment of judicial officers in Nigeria, are not suitable persons for nomination for appointment as judges of High Court of the FCT, Abuja, within the purview of Paragraph 2(1) of Part III of the Third Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999,” the plaintiff said.
Justice Abang, who noted that the plaintiff was not a party to the procedure for the appointment of the judicial officers and that they had not participated in any way, said the applicant’s interest was vague.
He also held that the court has no jurisdiction over the matter as argued by the respondents since the subject matter has to do with employment of the persons recommended by the NJC to be appointed as judges by President Buhari.
The judge said the application by the plaintiff to transfer the matter to National Industrial Court in accordance with Section 22 of the Federal High Court Rule would be baseless since the applicant’s legal right had to be determined first.
He, thereafter, dismissed the suit based on the two grounds.
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