The Igbo Renaissance has faulted the claim by the Nigeria Judicial Council, NJC, that Ndigbo were not shortchanged in the recent appointm
ent of Appeal Court justices, saying that the South East zone was actually sidelined in the process.

Renaissance said that by convention, each of the states in the country were supposed to have three serving justices of the Court of Appeal, adding that while Kwara State for example would have four by the new arrangement, Enugu and Abia States would have two each as no candidate was interviewed from the east by the NJC, despite the shortlisting of qualified candidates from the area.

National Secretary of Igbo Renaissance Group, IRG, Chief Roland Eze, who spoke in an interview with Vanguard in Enugu, debunked the claim by the NJC over its partiality against the South East, insisting that the zone was shortchanged, just as the South West and the North West had more than there fair share in the new appointments.

His words, “The Court of Appeal is statutorily expected to have 90 Justices, out of which no fewer than three must come from each state. However, the available vacancies were 14 as the Court of Appeal had 76 justices instead of 90. Other zones had 15 each except the South East which had 13.

“By the new arrangement arising from the Court of Appeal’s submission to the NJC, the South East was supposed to have had at 14 justices while other zones had 15.
“However, instead of following the Court of Appeal’s recommendations, the South West and North West got one new Judges each to bring the number of justices in the zones to 16 each, while Kwara State got additional one to make the state have four justices even as Abia and Enugu remained with their two slots each.

“It is difficult to know what magic the NJC used in arriving at this awkward arrangement whereby the South East will have 13 serving justices in the Court of Appeal while all other zones had 15 0r 16.

“It is absurd for the NJC to say that it considered merit and geographical spread in the appointment of judicial officers to the Court of Appeal. Are they saying that we do not have qualified judicial officers to be appointed?

“This is bullshit! Some senior judges from the South East were shortlisted by the Court of Appeal. Why were they even invited for interview? The statistics provided by the NJC were sexed up and we expect that this issue must not be allowed to be swept under the carpet,” Eze said.

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