Federal High Court Judge’s Slot: CHRSJ To Petition Presidency, NJC Over Shortchanging Of Osun

Posted on April 4, 2022

A human rights organization, the Centre for Human Rights and Social Justice (CHRSJ), has expressed displeasure over the selection process of one Mabel Taiye Segun-Bello to fill the slot of Osun State in the current appointment of six additional judges to the Federal High Court bench in Nigeria.

The National Judicial Council (NJC), at its 97th meeting held between 15th-16th March, 2022, had recommended Mrs. Segun-Bello for appointment.

But CHRSJ, a human rights body, led by its Executive Chairman,Comrade Adeniyi Alimi Suleiman, had concluded arrangement to write a petition to the Presidency and the Chief Justice of  Nigeria (CJN) and also Chairman, National Judicial Council (NJC), to call for immediate review of the exercise by the Presidency and the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation so as not to put judicial processes in jeopardy, being the bastion of last hope for seekers of justice in the country.

It would be recalled that over 150 legal practitioners from Osun, had applied and angled for a slot as a Judge of the Federal High Court which was advertised in late 2020.

As of 7th March, 2021, six out the over 150 that applied, were shortlisted. These included Ajibade Bolatito Florence, Ayilara Olusegun Ayodele (PhD), Olakunle Yusuf, Oladigbolu Abidemi Monday, Justice Fagbenle Emmanuel Olusegun and Abodunde Hazrat Babalakin-Are

However, strangely and against known judicial recruitment practices, on 24th March, 2021, a supplementary shortlist signed by the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho, which has another nominee, Mabel Taiye Segun-Bello from Osun, was released.

Sometime in February, 2022, three among the six shortlisted, which included Olakunle Yusuf,Oladigbolu Abidemi Monday and Ayilara Olusegun Ayodele were called for interview at the behest of Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC). This privilege was also later extended to Mabel who had emerged through an afterthought supplementary shortlist, being the only one on the controversial list

To the surprise of judicial experts and watchers, the known judicial righteous tradition of recruitment was abandoned to pave way for the last person brought in through the backdoor called supplementary list and was named the chosen one

Reacting to the development on Friday, the CHRSJ in its plan petition to the Presidency and the Attorney General of the Federation as well as the NJC, threatened to spoil for showdown if nothing concrete was urgently done to redress this anomaly.

“Judiciary is the last hope of not only the common man but everyone whose rights have been trampled upon. So if those in charge are already soiled through questionable appointments, then there seems to be no hope for anyone seeking justice” bemoaned CHRSJ

According to the group, all its clamoring for, is the right thing to be done by ensuring that the known tradition of due process entrenched in the judicial system, is followed to the letter.

“We suspect foul play in the whole arrangement and that is why nobody can justifiably convince us that Mabel’s recruitment was not pre-planned. We are not against Mabel Taiye Segun-Bello but we were seriously against the process through which she’s trying to emerge; its corruption-laden and will be dangerous if allowed to sail through” it warned

Continuing, the CHRSJ urged that:”The Presidency, Attorney General of the Federation, National Judicial Council (NJC) and others concerned must urgently do the needful to rectify the situation. Anything short of this will ensure that we do not leave any stone unturned in getting justice and enforcing it. We should not be taken for granted”.

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