The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, yesterday, fixed June 23 for the hearing of the suit instituted by the South-Eastern group, Alaigbo Development Foundation, against the National Judicial Commission over the appointment of judges to the Court of Appeal.
The Incorporated Trustees of the foundation, in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/ CS/347/21, joined the NJC, Federal Judicial Service Commission, President of the Court of Appeal, Federal Character Commission and the Attorney-General the Federation as 1st to 5th defendants respectively.
In its originating summons, the plaintiff is asking the court to determine whether the defendants can disregard the principle of fairness, due process, and federal character in the appointment of judges to the Court of Appeal, with regards to the South-East Zone of Nigeria.
The group also asked the court to determine whether the South-East was not entitled to three slots in the ongoing appointment of judges to the Court of Appeal to fill up the vacancies that were caused by the elevation, retirement, and death of the three justices of the Court of Appeal from the zone. The group, however, prayed the court to declare the actions of the NJC, FJSC, and the President of the Court of Appeal as unjustifiable and unconstitutional for only allocating one slot to the South East.
It further prayed the court to declare that the zone was entitled to three slots in the ongoing appointment exercise and restrain the defendants from continuing with the exercise until the South East is accorded their rightful slots. When the matter was mentioned yesterday, trial Judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo recalled that he had ordered for accelerated hearing of the case at the previous proceeding and that the plaintiff should serve the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th defendants whose proof of service was not in the court’s file.
Counsel to the Plaintiff, Max Ozoaka informed the Court that he had obeyed the order and served the parties accordingly. However, Ozoaka told the court that he was served with the processes of the 1st to 3rd defendants on Tuesday as the courts resumed after the strike action embarked on by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria.