From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
No fewer than 23 lawyers, including seven Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) and two women, have applied for the position of Justices of the Supreme Court.
The applicants spread across five geopolitical zones, according to the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), would be considered by the Federal Judicial Service Commission in the next round of appointments to the apex court bench.
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There are currently 16 justices on the Supreme Court bench, out of a maximum of 21, with some of them expected to retire soon.
Traditionally, only the Court of Appeal Justices were appointed to the Supreme Court. The last of the only two lawyers who made the apex court bench was then Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) Augustine Nnamani in 1979.
However, the Chief Justice of Nigeria(CJN), Justice Ibrahim Mohamed, had in a letter on January 19, 2022, included lawyers among those to be considered as justices of the Supreme Court.
The CJN’s proposal followed years of pressure by stakeholders, particularly the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN), for its members and distinguished academics to be appointed to the topmost echelon of the nation’s judiciary.
In the CJN’s offer, apart from the South East which will get two slots, and the North East which is excluded, the other zones would get one slot each.
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The body of lawyers said it had followed up on the CJN’s letter by issuing a notice on February 7, requesting members of the bar to forward their expressions of interest to the vacancies.
In a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Dr Rapulu Nduka, the NBA has called for public reactions to the listed aspirants.
The statement said its judiciary committee chaired by Dr. Babatunde Ajibade (SAN) had received expressions of interest from 23 lawyers and urged the public to send in petitions where necessary.
The 23 aspirants are Mr. Abugu Oromafunu, Mr Achara Ezekwesiri, Mr. Ademi-Akpeto Awolowo and Mrs Joy Okungbowa all SANs.
Set featured imageOthers are Mr. Mahmud Adesina (SAN), Mr. Adolor Onorieukuhakpo, Mr. Adelekan Ajayi, Mr. Ayoola Akande, Mr Ademola Alabi, Mr. Nuraddeen Ayagi, Mrs. Miannaya Essien (SAN), Mr. Udochukwu Ezeani, Mr. Chukwugekwu Ezenwa (SAN) and Mr. Omokhuwa Giwa.
Chief Anthony Idigbe (SAN), Mr. Enya Nwocha, Mr. Edwin Obiorah (SAN), Mr. Ogbemudia Omoregie, Mr. Itoyah Otaru (SAN), Mr. Ujah Oyiwona, Mr. Stanley Princewill, Mr. Salisu Shuaibu, and Mr. Kadir Temim complete the list.