NJC receives 22 nominees list for 11 Supreme Court judges’ openings

The National Judicial Council (NJC) has received a list of 22 nominees for 11 openings on the Supreme Court bench.

The NJC is expected to pick 11 deserving candidates from the list and forward same to President Bola Tinubu, who shall appoint them to the Supreme Court bench, although, subject to Senate confirmation.

Many news platforms, including Channels Television, reported Thursday that the list was sent to the NJC by the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC).

The FJSC is responsible for conducting some of the earliest steps in the process of appointment of judges for federal courts. The various states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, have their analogous bodies carrying out equivalent roles.

The involvement of either the federal or state judicial commission begins after the head of the court that is in need of judges declares vacancies on the court’s bench.

Those interested in the positions indicate their interest by getting recommendation letters from justices and other relevant officials in the justice sector and send same to the FJSC.

FJSC then reviews the applications by checking for eligibility of the applicants in terms of their professional records and geographical zones of origin, and interviewing them, to prune down the number.

At the end of the process, FJSC sends a list of nominees, double of the number of the openings on the court’s bench, to the NJC.

The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Olukayode Ariwoola, declared openings on the Supreme Court bench in June.

The court, with 10 justices currently, has 11 vacancies that need to be filled for the court to have its full complement of 21 justices. The court has never attained the feat of having its full complement of justices.

The FJSC list that emerged on Thursday is made up of names of 22 judges of the Court of Appeal seeking to be elevated to the Supreme Court bench.

They are from different geo-political zones of the country. The various zones have varying number of nominees on the list, depending on how many representatives they currently have on the Supreme Court bench.

Currently, only four of the six geo-political zones are represented on the Supreme Court bench. While South-west and North-east have three each, South-south and North-west have two each.

Both the South-east and North-central have zero each. The two zones lost their last representatives on the Supreme Court bench with the retirement of Dattijo Muhammad from Niger State, North-central, in October, and the death of Centus Nweze from Enugu State, South-east, in July.


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