Nigerians React To NJC’s Nomination Of Eight FCT Judicial Officers Who Are Relations Of Justices For Appointment As Judges

May 22, 2020

International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) has revealed that eight newly nominated Federal Capital Territory (FCT) judges by the National Judicial Council (NJC) are either children or relations of current or retired justices of Nigerian apex and lower courts.

These eight individuals are among 33 judicial officers included in the recently released list by the NJC. The new list which brings the total nominees to 64, is an addition to a previously released list dated April 22, 2020, and released on April 26.

A good number of individuals have reacted to the latest NJC nominations. Most common is the criticism describing the selection as lacking merit. They have accused the NJC of making the selection based on the strength of the influence of their parents, or relations who were or are still senior judicial officers.

One of those to react is the co-convener of Open Bar Initiative (OBI) Group, Chidi Odinkalu.

He tweeted:

“The Chief Judge of FCT Hi Court got approval to appoint 15 judges. 9 of the 15 (60%) are spouses or kids of judges. So, he creates a bazaar, concatenates names from everywhere & ends up with 33. Entirely unlawful, “My Lord”!

“2 sons of Idris Kutigi are already judges – 1 in Court of Appeal & another in High Court. Now a 3rd son has bn nominated. Other Nigerians escorted them to the country as #MaiGuard, ko? #Izokai!”

Silas Joseph Onu, a former Publicity Secretary of Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Abuja chapter alleged that the nominated candidates lack the requisite qualities for the position they were nominated for.

He said:

“Some of these privileged children are magistrates with questionable qualities for the job, yet they got elevated ahead of known magistrates who have served for a longer period with years of experience and dedication to duty.”

A Twitter user, Benson Ayomide Oluwatosun gave his own view on the subject matter. He tweeted:

“Nepotism has ruined everything this country . Apparently, nepotism happens in all sectors and people who hasn’t benefitted from it seems to be the one complaining . we overlook competence and the result is what we are all living with today.”

@Centobestz tweeted:

“It’s a family business, tomorrow the 3rd class children will start collecting bribe to give judgement because the don’t know what it looks like to do what is right.”

See below tweet from Kingsley O. Igwe

“Sir, what’s happening in Nigeria on daily & weekly basis is very frightening, disheartening & shameful. There’s so much impunity, injustice, nepotism & tribalism in this country.”

Below are the eight nominees and their family ties as highlighted by ICIR.

Njideka Nwosu-Iheme: Daughter of Justice Mary Odili of the Supreme Court. Njideka, 36 is currently serving as Magistrate I at Wuse, Zone 6, FCT Magistrate court.

Fatima Abubakar Aliyu: Daughter of the Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa — the immediate past president of the Court of Appeal. Details of Fatima’s service was not revealed. She is 35 years old.

Hafsat Abba-Aliyu: Daughter of Justice Uwani Abba-Aji of the Nigerian Supreme Court. Hafsat, 42 was sworn in as a Magistrate I for the FCT judiciary in March 2015.

Mimi Anne Katsina Alu-Apena: Daughter of late Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu; former Chief Justice of Nigeria who died on July 18, 2018. Mimi is 46 years old.

Ibrahim Mohammed: Son of a former grand-khadi of the FCT. Ibrahim, 40 currently serves as Senior Magistrate II at the Wuse Zone 6 magistrate court.

Kanyip Rosemary Indinya: Wife of Justice Kanyip —President of the National Industrial Court. Rosemary is also sister of a member of the National Judicial Council.

She currently serves as a Chief Magistrate II in Bwari.

Nwabulu Chineze: Sister to the presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Akure, Ondo State. Nwabulu, 57 is currently serving as a Deputy Director at the FCTA.

Enenche Eleojo: Personal assistant to the Chief Judge of the FCT High Court. Eleojo, 46 serves as an Assistant Director at FCT High Court.

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