Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has been asked to stop any move by either President Goodluck Jonathan or the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mariam Aloma Mukhtar, to appoint five new judges for the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.
The court was asked to invoke its powers and stop the planned elevation of the new judges, following alleged fraud in the appointment process which was allegedly skewed to favour specific states.
The suit, which was filed by an Abuja-based legal practitioner, Mrs. Chidinma Hilary Udebuani, specifically fingered the Chief Judge of the FCT, Justice Ibrahim Bukar, in the alleged appointment fraud.
He was said to have abused the law by deliberately listing only people from certain parts of the country to head courts in the FCT, an action said to be in gross violation of the federal character principle.
The lawyer argued that the law that established the FCT Judiciary, provided that it should have a composition of 37 judges excluding the Chief Judge, with the result that there shall be a judge from each state of the Federation and the FCT.
The plaintiff told the court that whereas some states like Katsina have about four judges currently sitting at the FCT high court, some states have none.
According to the plaintiff, “the Chief Judge of the FCT has been in breach of the said legislation, which was meant to run with the spirit of the Federal character as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The breach manifests itself in the discriminatory method of appointment in the FCT High court, particularly of the High Court judges.
“That a state like Kastina has always had four Judges until recently when one of them was elevated to the Court of Appeal, still leaving three judges to the credit of Kastina, while other states have no representation.”