A suit brought before a Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja by the Incorporated Trustees of Alaigbo Development Foundation against the National Judicial Council (NJC), Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC) and President of the Court of Appeal, on Wednesday suffered a setback as it was further adjourned till June 23, 2021, for hearing.
By the suit, which also has, the Federal Character Commission (FCC) and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) as respondents, the Igbo group are challenging the alleged lopsidedness in the recent appointment of Appeal Court Justices in the county.
When the matter was called, counsel to the plaintiff, Max Ozoaka, informed the court that he had served hearing notices on the defendants in accordance with the earlier order of the court and that he would need time to respond to the defendants’ counter-affidavits served on him two days ago.
Reacting, Paul Usoro (SAN), who appeared for the NJC, and counsel to 2nd and 3rd defendants, Yakubu. C. Maikyau, (SAN) blamed the delay in filing their responses on the strike action.
In his ruling, the trial Judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo, ordered parties to put their house in order, before the next adjourned date of June 23, 2021.
The plaintiff, in an originating summons, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/347/21, dated March 15, 2021, is urging the court to restrain the defendants from continuing the exercise pending the hearing and determination of the suit.
The group is also seeking an order compelling the defendants to replace the three vacancies in the South East slots with three new Justices from the zone.
They also want the court to determine among others that, “Having regard to the oath of office of the defendants to uphold the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, and the true intendment of Section 14 (3) and other the relevant provisions of the Constitution, whether the defendants can completely ignore, disregard or infringe at will the principles of justice, fairness, equity, due process and federal character in the ongoing exercise of appointment of Justices of the Court of Appeal, particularly with regard to the South East Zone of the Federation.”