- Abba-Aji gets nod as Supreme Court justice
Deji Elumoye in Abuja
The Senate Thursday adjourned plenary to Wednesday, January 16 after confirming the nomination of Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye and eight others as chairman and members of the Board of the Independent Corrupt Practises and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
The 25-day adjournment was sequel to a motion moved by the Senate Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan, and seconded by Senate Minority Whip, Senator Philip Aduda.
The Senate also confirmed the nomination of Justice Umani Abba-Aji of the Court of Appeal as a justice of the Supreme Court.
The confirmation of Owasanoye (South-west) and eight other board members of ICPC was sequel to a motion moved by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes, Senator Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu North) requesting that the nine nominees be confirmed and was seconded by Senator Andy Uba (Anambra South).
The other confirmed nominees, whose nominations were sent to the Senate by the Executive since August 2017 are Yahaya Dauda (North-central); Abdullahi Saidu (North-central); Hannatu Muhammed (North-west); Justice Adamu Bello (rtd) (North-west); Dr Grace Chinda (South-south); Okolo Titus (South-east), Obiora Igwedebia (South-east) and Mrs Olubukola Balogun (South-west).
Lawan had earlier told his colleagues that he has the assurances of the executive that three more nominees (two from North-east and one from South-south) will be sent shortly to the Senate for approval for the 12-man ICPC Board to be complete.
The Senate also confirmed the nomination of Justice Umani Abba Aji of the Court of Appeal as a Justice of the Supreme Court.
The confirmation was based on the Senate consideration of the report of the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator David Umaru (Niger East) for the confirmation of Justice Aji as Justice of the Supreme Court.
Presenting the report, Senator Umaru said the nominee has been screened and satisfied all requirements as justice of the Supreme Court.
‘’This appointment was made pursuant to Section 231 (2) and (3) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), which requires that the appointment of a person to the Supreme Court Bench shall be made by the President on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council, subject to confirmation of such nomination by the senate.
‘’After deliberation on the Executive Communication, the Senate referred it to the committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters for further legislative action and to report back with its recommendations’’.
Umaru disclosed that the petition filed by a legal practitioner, Dr S.S. Nwawka against Justice Abba-Aji’s nomination to the apex court bench had been faulted by NJC as lacking in merit, just as the council said that no act of misconduct was disclosed against the nominee.
The committee, according to Umaru found Justice Abba-Aji as a fit and proper person for appointment as a justice of the Supreme Court.
‘’For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to observe that this appointment satisfies the constitutional provision of Section 231 (3) which stipulates a minimum of 15 years post call experience to qualify for appointment as a justice of the Supreme Court.
‘’It should be stated that this appointment became necessary following the retirement of Hon. Justice Clara Bata Ogunbiyi, JSC (North-east) , after attaining the mandatory retirement age of 70 years on February 27, 2018.
‘’By virtue of paragraph 13 (a) (ii), Third Schedule to the Constitution, the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC) is empowered to advise the NJC in nominating persons for appointment as justices of the Supreme Court and the FJSC indeed kick-started the process as required by the above constitutional requirement.
‘’The Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, having screened the nominee and being satisfied about her integrity, experience, performance, qualifications and consequence, hereby recommends that the Senate do confirm the nomination of Justice Abba-Aji, appointment as a Justice of the Supreme Court,’’ Senator Umaru stated.
Consequently, the lawmakers approved the nomination after unanimous voice vote in her favour.
Speaking after the confirmation, Senate President, Bukola Saraki, lauded members of the committee for their speedy consideration judging by the fact that the request came from the executive on December 6, 2018
He specifically stated that Justice Ogunbiyi which Justice Abba-Aji would replace had retired since February but the executive did not send in a request until December, thereby letting the apex court bench to be short by one justice since then.
The upper legislative chamber also yesterday urged the federal government to investigate the circumstances surrounding the assassination of the former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Marshal Alex Badeh.
Senator Binta Garba (Adamawa North) had in a motion co-sponsored by Senator Bala Ibn Na’allah (Kebbi South) noted the gruesome murder of Badeh and requested the Senate to look into the level of insecurity across the nation.
Contributing, Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, while condoling with the family of the late senior officer, urged government to go to the root of the matter by ensuring that the killers of Badeh are brought to book.
On his part, Chairman of Senate Committee on Foreign and Local Debts, Senator Shehu Sani, said Badeh was a victim of assassination and urged government to henceforth take security issues very seriously.
He stated that Badeh’s assassination must be thoroughly investigated “so that it won’t go the way of unresolved murders of late Bola Ige, Harry Marshal, among others”.
The Senate presided over by Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, apart from observing a minute silence in honour of the late Marshal Badeh, urged the security agencies to search and rescue Badeh’s personal staff abducted by the assailants.