Following President Bola Tinubu’s letter to the Senate seeking the screening and subsequent confirmation for appointment of 11 Supreme Court justice nominees, the Senate immediately screened them, calling on Federal Judicial Service Commission and National Judicial Council to avoid what it described as the lackluster approach in the appointment of Supreme Court justices, and for vacancies to be filled as when due.
Speaking, on Wednesday in Abuja during the screening of 11 justices for appointment into the Supreme Court by the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, the Senate Leader, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti Central) urged the FJSC and NJC to, henceforth, ensure prompt recommendation and appointment of judges and justices in the country to prevent prolonged vacancies on the bench.
He said: “I have this to say, first to the appointing authorities. The last time we experienced this kind of a thing was three years ago, when I was chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters and we had to take dates of My Lord Justices together just like we are having today and today, it is 11 of you.
“My appeal on behalf of all of us to the appointing authorities is the need to avoid this kind of situation. These positions did not just became vacant in one day. I recall with a sense of patriotic pain how long this committee had to wait even after some days, list had been sent by the NJC and the senate had to wait for several months close to nine months for the names to be forwarded for whatever reason, either they waited for one person or the other to make their list.
“Today 11 people. My hope and prayer is that in the Supreme Court already, we don’t have a class of eight, I pray that is not happening but please let us not have a class of 11. As this vacancies occur, it is important that those who are next in line be screened and appointed immediately.”
Earlier, Chairman of the Committee, Senator Mohammed Monguno (APC, Borno North), who noted that the legislature had a responsibility to “jealously guard the independence of the judiciary,” by insulating it against abuses, cited insufficient funding as one major problems of the judiciary that the Senate was addressing in the 2024 budget.