By Vivian Okejeme, Abuja
The Federal High Court, Abuja has ordered accelerated hearing in suit filed by Alaigbo Development Foundation, (ADF) against the National Judicial Council (NJC), the President of the Court of Appeal and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF).
The foundation is prosecuting the respondents over alleged injustice in the recent appointment of some justices to the Court of Appeal.
The court directed that all processes relating to the suit should be served on the NJC, the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC) and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami SAN, as they were not represented in court at Monday’s proceedings.
Justice Inyang Ekwo said after going through the processes before him, he was satisfied that the matter is the type that should be heard speedily.
He accordingly ordered an abringement of time and ordered the defendants to file their responses to the suit within five days upon receipt of service.
The president of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem was represented in court by Mr. Yakubu Maikyau (SAN).
The plaintiff had, in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/347/2021,
decried the imbalance, lopsided distribution of federal amenities and offices and marginalisation of Nd’Igbo in Nigeria have now ascended to unbearable and alarming proportions and most surprisingly even in the hallowed temple of justice.
The plaintiff through his counsel, Chief Max Ozoaka, said, It is the contention of the group that “Nd’Igbo should no longer continue to fold their hands while things that are rightfully and legitimately due to them are taken away and given to other zones.
He said, “In the on-going 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.’’
Meantime, the matter is adjourned till April 8, 2021.