By Deji Elumoye
The Senate yesterday confirmed eight new Supreme Court justices, bringing to 20 the number of justices at the apex court.
The confirmation of the nominees was a sequel to the consideration of a report by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, who stated that the appointment of the nominees satisfied the requirement of Sections 230(2) and 232(1) and (2) and (3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
According to him, “Upon confirmation of the appointment of the nominees by the Senate, all the six geo-political zones will be represented by three or four justices, as the case may be, except the North-Central Zone, which will maintain its current two justices on the Bench of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.”
Bamidele, however, explained: “The reason why the North-central zone has two justices unlike other zones, can be attributed to the fact that during the selection process, the nomination from the zone was stood down by the selection committee for a further review of the nomination by the Federal Judicial Service Commission.”
He added that while necessary steps were being taken to meet the full complement of the maximum number of justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, the appointment of the eight justices of the Supreme Court was a bold step taken by the president to strengthen the judiciary to meet with the challenges of the 21st century.
A geo-political breakdown of the 20 Supreme Court justices upon confirmation of the eight new justices, according to Bamidele, include North-east (four including the Chief Justice of Nigeria); North-west (four); North-central (two); South-east (three); South-west (four) and South-south (three).
The upper chamber in a Committee of the Whole, thereafter, confirmed the nomination of the eight appointees as justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
The confirmed justices are: Justice Lawal Garba, North-west; Justice Helen Ogunwumiju, South-west; Justice Addu Aboki, North-west; Justice Ibrahim Saulawa, North-west; Justice Adamu Jauro, North-east; Justice Samuel Oseji, South-south; Justice Tijjani Abubakar, North-east; and Justice Emmanuel Agim, South-south.