Law News
Two Justices in final battle for S’Court job

Two Justices of the Court of Appeal have made it to the final contest for an opening on the Supreme Court bench.

The candidates who are now at the final stage of the contest for a slot on the apex court’s bench are Justices Ejembi Eko and Monica Dongban-Mensen.

Either Eko, who hails from Benue State, or Dongbam-Mensen, from Plateau State, will fill in the slot of the North-Central geo-political zone on the bench which became vacant last November with the retirement of Justice John Fabiyi, who hails from Kogi State in the same zone.

Our correspondent learnt from credible judiciary sources that the National Judicial Council has conducted the final interview for the two candidates and only waiting for its plenary which is scheduled to hold before the end of the month to decide on whom, between the two, to recommend for the appointment.

After the NJC’s plenary, the name of one of the two candidates will be forwarded to President Mohammadu Buhari, who is vested with the powers to appoint.

A source said, “From the look of things, a new Justice of the Supreme Court will emerge before the end of the month. The NJC will hold its plenary before the end of the month and the recommendation of one of the two candidates, based on the interview already conducted, will definitely be part of the agenda of the meeting.

“At the end of the meeting, the name of one of them will be forwarded to the President, who has the power to appoint.”

The appointment of Justices of the Supreme Court begins with the CJN sending the quadruple of the number of personnel needed to the Federal Judicial Service Commission.

The FJSC is expected to conduct interviews and other procedures to prune down the number to two, which will be forwarded to the NJC.

The number of the Supreme Court Justices last week dropped from 16 to 15 with the retirement of Justice Muhammad Muntaka-Coomasie, who attained the mandatory retirement age of 70 on February 10.

Our correspondent gathered that the process of filling in the vacancy left by Justice Muntaka-Coomasie’s retirement will start as soon as possible to bring the number of Justices of the apex court back to 16 that it was in November 2014.

Despite regular complaints of too much of workload which the Justices of the Supreme Court have to contend with, constitution quota of 21 justices of the apex court has never been met.

The President of the National Bar Association, Mr. Augustine Alegeh (SAN), used the occasion of the valedictory court session, held last week in honour of retired Justice Muntaka-Coomasie, to call on the NJC to increase the number of Justices of the apex court to 21.

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