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CJN Daughter’s Appointment: HURIWA Accuses Nigerian Judiciary Of Nepotism

2 months ago
3 mins read

Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has accused the Nigerian judiciary of engaging in acts of nepotism, especially regarding appointments that is not based on merit.

The human rights group made the accusation while reacting to a report which alleged that the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Kayode Ariwoola, is plotting to install his daughter as a judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Abuja. The Chief judge of FCT High Court, Husseini Baba-Yusuf, was also said to have nominated his daughter Maryam Baba-Yusuf as judge of the FCT High Court.

In a statement signed by HURIWA National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, the group asserted that at no time in the history of Nigerian judiciary has it become so  “nepotistic” in the appointment of lawyers to become members of the bench as judges without consideration for merit and competence.

“Similarly, the distribution of the title of senior Advocates of Nigeria has become a family affair because in the last few years, senior members of the Nigerian Bar who are senior advocates of Nigeria, whose spouses and biological children are lawyers, have been in a mad rush to enlist their wives and children as senior advocates of Nigeria. This is disgraceful and totally unacceptable,” HURIWA stated.

It argued that based on global best practices, merit and competence are the only qualifying requirements for those who would be elevated to the position of judges and those to wear the prestigious titles of Senior Advocates of Nigeria.

The group warned that the danger in allowing the decline in observance of merit and competence as the only yardstick for such appointments to continue, is that the quality of justice delivery will be seriously eroded since those not naturally qualified are aided to occupy the front seats in the courts of the Federation.

The Rights group said it is shocked that those who are the supposed custodians of the temple of justice have decided to embrace nepotism as their only yardstick for elevating their children to the esteemed offices of judges which offends the law of natural justice and is a violation of the oaths of offices administered on the Chief justice of Nigeria and the Chief judge of the FCT who with these reported appointments of their biological children have allowed clear conflicts of interests to mar their sense of judgment and blinded their capacity to discharge their primary obligation to their callings as leaders in the justice sector.

The rights group expressed worry the media report about the alleged nomination has remained uncontradicted by the hierarchy of the FCT High court.

According to the report by Peoples Gazette, While the CJN is scheming to ensure that his daughter-n-law, Oluwakemi Ariwoola, is successfully appointed judge making Oyo have three slots, before his mandatory retirement in August 2024, Baba-Yusuf is also pushing to fix his daughter Maryam in the bench under Kogi State slot. This the report said, is happening as some states like Ebonyi, Abia, Imo, and Bayelsa have no single slot.

HURIWA which cited media reports of the said nomination, lamented that the FCT chief judge Mr Baba-Yusuf has also accepted Munira Ibrahim Tanko, a junior magistrate and daughter of erstwhile Chief Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, as a candidate from Bauchi, a state that already has Babangida Hasan on the court. It warned that if allowed to stand, would give Kogi and Oyo three judges each, while Bauchi would have two.

HURIWA lamented that it is regrettable that rather than give the highest consideration to the federal character principle as enshrined in the constitution prioritising ethnic and geopolitical balance in appointments, the FCT chief judge Yusuf-Baba, has instead allegedly appeared bent on foisting a lopsided goal of allocating vacant seats to rookie officers from influential families, even while passing over senior magistrates from states not already represented on the court.

The group further claimed that the FCT High Court judge’s conduct has already created controversy among judges and clerks, including those who were hitherto grunted by his leadership of the court, The Gazette reported.

The Peoples Gazette had also reported that the CJN had allegedly also appointed his younger brother, Adebayo Ariwoola, as the new auditor for the National Judicial Council (NJC) and son as judge of the Federal High Court.

HURIWA condemned the silence of the National Assembly “to these untoward development in the nation’s judiciary even when the constitution has clothed the National legislature with the powers of providing checks and balances in the other two tiers of government of judiciary and executive Arms.”

The rights group therefore called on Nigerians to consistently denounce acts of nepotism in the judiciary and speak out in total Condemnation of same because such malpractices have the capacity to sabotage constitutional democracy in the country.

 

Victor Ezeja is a passionate journalist with six years of experience writing on economy, politics and energy. He holds a Masters degree in Mass Communication.

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