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JRP tasks NJC over transparency in judicial appointment

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Justice Reform Project (JRP) has warned that the absence of transparency in the process of the appointment of judicial officers by the National Judicial Council (NJC), will diminished the process.

They therefore said that far greater premium should be placed on the transparency of the appointment process as a key step towards restoring public confidence in the justice system.

According to them, the National Judicial Policy 2019 stipulates well-defined standards that shall permeate every stage of the selection and appointment process and should be applied with the purpose of transparency at its core.

“We consider it imperative to assure the public that judicial personnel so appointed have the requisite skill and experience and that they are of impeccable honour and integrity.

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Such method, they stressed, should be verifiable as to inspire public confidence that any candidate who passes scrutiny has the requisite comportment, character and ability to sit in the capacity of judex.

In a letter to the NJC, signed by the chairman, governing board, Olufunke Adekoya (SAN) and convener, JRP, Mr. Charles Adeyemi Candide-Johnson (SAN), JRP charged the NJC to ensure that the judicial appointment process must be transparent, merit based and skill based.

The group highlighted some NJC policy and guidelines on appointment of judicial officers stating that “a transparent and carefully designed appointment process is indispensable to an efficient and independent judiciary, able to command public confidence in the administration of justice and capable of promoting and protecting the rule of law and human right.

“Every aspect of judicial appointment process should be such as would command public respect and confidence that the best person in terms of skill, learning, integrity and courage are appointed as judicial officers.”

They further stated that the judicial appointment policy would ensure that lack of comparative seniority would not be an obstacle to the appointment of deserving candidates of palpable high standard of integrity and excellence.

“There should be all levels of appointment process, screening of candidates through screening committees that would be charged with evaluating each candidate in regards to the minimum standards set by the judicial appointments guidelines and making recommendations to the relevant bodies at each of the levels. Such bodies will determine the composition of the relevant committees, “ the group said.

They however applauded the commendable effort by the NJC to complement the judicial capacity required to deal efficiently with cases on the overworked dockets across the country through the recent appointments.

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