A Federal High Court yesterday ordered accelerated hearing of a suit seeking to stop, the National Judicial Council (NJC) and others from proceeding with the ongoing process of appointing more Justices for the Court of Appeal.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a ruling ordered the service of all court documents relating to the suit on the NJC, the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC) and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), who were not represented in court.
Justice Ekwo said he was satisfied that the case was the type that should be heard promptly.
He abridged the time and ordered the defendants to file their responses within five days of their receipt of service.
The judge directed the court’s Registrar to issue hearing notices on parties and adjourned till April 8, 202.
The President of the Court of Appeal, who is also a defendant in the case, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/347/2021 was represented by Mr. Yakubu Maikyau (SAN).
The plaintiff – Alaigbo Development Foundation, (ADF) – claimed that the alleged imbalance, lopsided distribution of federal amenities and offices and marginalisation of Ndi Igbo in the country had been raised “to unbearable and alarming proportions and most surprisingly even in the hallowed temple of justice.
“In the ongoing exercise for the appointment of Justices of the Court of Appeal, the South East Zone is rightfully entitled to three slots in direct replacement of the three vacancies in that court arising since 2020 from the retirement and death respectively of two Justices of the court from the zone and the earlier elevation to the Supreme Court of one Justice from the zone.
“It is regrettable that rather than directly replace/fill these three vacancies with candidates from the South East as is the norm and practice in the court, the South East was allocated just one slot while their other two slots are given to other zones.
“This is against the spirit and intent of the constitutional provisions of Section 14(3) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended,” the plaintiff said.