Appointment of Judges in FCT: Citizen’s Gavel solicits Nigerians’ active participation


A non-governmental organization operating as Citizens’ Gavel, has advised every Nigerian to engage in the ongoing judicial appointment process in the country particularly at the nation’s Federal Capital Territory.

The organization which gave the advice contended that the integrity of our democracy is not solely determined by electoral outcomes but also, by the judicious selection of our judicial officers.

BAR & BENCH WATCH reports that the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) had recently published a list of 24 candidates shortlisted for appointment as Judges of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for the general public to submit petitions, objections, or comments on the suitability of the candidates.

On the list were Ademuyiwa Olakunle Oyeyipo, Bamodu Odunayo Olutomi, Anumaenwe Godwin Iheabunike, Odo Celestine Obinna, Hauwa Lawal Gummi, Yakubu Yahuza Muri and Buetnaan Mandy Bassi.

Others were Sarah Benjamin Inesu Avoh, Maryam Iye Yusuf, Ariwoola Oluwakemi Victoria, Lesley Nkesi Belema Wike, Munirat Ibrahim Tanko, Abdullahi Toyin Ambali, Agosu-Adeleke Oluwatosin Esther and Cajetan C. Osisioma.

Others on the list were Nwoye Akachukwu Anthony, Hayatu Sani, Abdulrahaman Usman, Diane Ngummai Nkwap, Weriebi Egberipou, Ehusani Abel Simpa, Ifeoluwagbeminiyi Ojediran, Ngar Isaac Harrison and Salihu Ibrahim Salihu

All petitions, objections and comments on the suitability of the candidates were to be sent to the NBA within two working days.

Reacting to the list, Odinkalu had said the NBA that published the list appeared to have lent itself to legitimizing the “self-serving nominations” by publishing the list on a Friday during the Ramadan and Lenten periods, giving the public only two working days to provide comments.

He took to his X (formerly known as Twitter) account to express his concerns.

Going specific, the activist listed at least 5 of the 24 candidates belonging to the category of candidates with close familial ties to current or former high-ranking judicial officials in the country.

According to him, “Candidate No. 7, Buetnaan, is the daughter of the President of the Court of Appeal, who was appointed a judge in Plateau State in 2021, raising questions about the transparency of her potential transfer.

“Candidate No. 11 is an in-law of Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike, who appointed her as a Senior Magistrate last year, suggesting potential quid pro quo (something for something) arrangements.

The list includes the daughters of the former and current Chief Judges of the FCT High Court (No. 5 and No. 9, respectively).

“Candidate No. 10 is the daughter-in-law of the current Chief Justice of Nigeria, while No. 12 is the daughter of his immediate predecessor.

“When I speak about filialization & genitalization of the Nigerian judiciary, this is an exhibit in that case,” Odinkalu tweeted, referring to the alleged nepotism and favoritism in judicial appointments,” he added.

The activist further criticized the “testicular fortitude” required for such a “perversion of high judicial office,” questioning why judicial positions were being treated as “family heirlooms or a genital insemination” instead of focusing on the administration of justice.

Other members of the public are also forwarding their reservations on the candidates while some were said to be very suitable for the appointment.

Also reacting to the list through a statement electronically signed by Charles Akintola for Citizens’ Gavel’s Communications Team, the organization said that the appointment of twelve (12) out of the twenty-four (24) nominated judges was a crucial phase for democratic journey as more people would be vested with powers to uphold justice, maintain the rule of law, interpret laws, review the constitution, resolve disputes and protect the rights of the ordinary Nigerian, all of which directly impacted the lives of every Nigerian.

Also, in the vein of judicial accountability, the group has condemned the prevalence of decadence in the Nigerian Judicial System, which has been noticeable in recent years.

To nip this decadence in the bud, Citizens’ Gavel urgently urged Nigerians to exercise their democratic rights to a transparent and accountable process in appointing judges.

The NGO insisted on the necessity of basing judicial selections on merit and established integrity to arrest the current degradation and fortify the foundations of justice in the nation.

Moving forward, the group urged the Nigerian judiciary to dispense equal consequences for action, “such that everyone plays by the same rules stipulated by the constitution, regardless of status, tribe, religion or name, just as is obtainable in developed, democratic countries.”

Leading the charge for judicial accountability, Citizens’ Gavel said it had meticulously compiled and presented the profiles of the identified twenty-four appointees.

The organization invited the Nigerian public to exercise their civic duty by thoroughly examining each individual’s profile.

It said that concerns regarding any appointee’s character, conduct, or impartiality should be formally addressed through a petition to the National Judicial Council (NJC).

It encouraged citizens to articulate their objections clearly and send a copy of their correspondence to

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