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Lagos State government, group differ over procedure for appointing judges

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High Court

A group, ACCESS to Justice has charged the National Judicial Council (NJC) to independently investigate the claims that its guidelines were flouted in the recruitment of new judges in Lagos State judiciary.

Governor Akinwunmi Ambode on March 8, 2017 swore in three new High Court judges at the Lagos House in Ikeja.

But the group in a press conference jointly addressed by its director and deputy director, Mr. Joseph Otteh and Dr. Adenike Aiyedun, said its investigation indicates that the state did not fully comply with the NJC guidelines and procedural rules for the appointment of judicial officers of all superior courts in Nigeria.

They insisted that the State Chief Judge, the Judicial Service Commission and other offices saddled with the responsibility of complying with the guidelines failed to adhere to the procedures established by the guidelines such as publicising the vacancies, writing a letter to chairmen of every branch of Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) as well as failure of the state judiciary to send provisional list of applicants and nominees to respective NBA branches for comments.

The group, therefore, urged the NJC to hold the Lagos Chief Judge accountable, adopt a more rigorous verification criteria towards ensuring that all procedures leading to the appointment of a judge are meet, and fully observe the guidelines and punish all those who circumvent or aid the circumvention of its guidelines in order to serve as deterrent to others.

However, the Public Relations Officer (PRO), Lagos Judiciary, Mrs. Grace Alo told The Guardian that the state complied with the NJC guidelines. She challenged Access to Justice to contact the NJC to verify the claim.

According to her, there is no way the NJC would have approved the appointment of the judges if their guidelines were flouted, adding that other states as well appointed judges, following the laid-down procedures.



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