Four days after the news of 22 Appeal Court justices’ selection for elevation into the Supreme Court was broken, the National Judicial Council (NJC) has said it is yet to receive the list of nominees for the apex court’s bench from the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC).
The director of information of the NJC, Mr Soji Oye, said yesterday that he never had discussion with anybody regarding receiving or not receiving the list of justices’ nominees from the commission.
Oye said reports on such matters were always by official press statements from the council through his office.
The NJC spokesperson cautioned against unverified reports circulating on social media regarding Supreme Court nominations and the process being followed to fill vacancies on the bench.
It will be recalled that there were reports stating that the FJSC had released 22 names for the NJC’s consideration to fill vacancies at the apex court bench.
The nomination reportedly includes regional distribution of candidates across Nigeria’s geopolitical zones.
According to the report, the nomination of Justices for the bench followed complaints in September that the Supreme Court was operating with only 10 out of its constitutional strength of 21 justices.
Based on the depletion of Justices due to retirement and deaths, it was reported that the FJSC subsequently submitted a shortlist to address the vacant positions.
Oye warned that the media, especially, social media operators, to always get their information from the rightful source so as not to mis-inform the general public on Supreme Court nominations and the process being followed to fill vacancies on the bench.
Meanwhile, the chief justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola will on November 27 begin a new legal year. Also on that day, Ariwoola will swear-in 58 new Senior Advocates of Nigeria.
The new legal year and swearing-in of the new SANs are part of the programmes lined up to formally herald the 2023/2024 legal year of the Court.
The director of press in the apex court, Dr Akande Festus, said they will deliver a state-of-the Judiciary address, with a view to highlighting the performance of the Supreme Court in particular, and the Nigerian Judiciary in general, in the 2022/2023 legal year.
It will be recalled that 114 applications were received by the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee (LPPC) for the award of the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria in 2023. Out of this number, 101 are advocates and 13 are academics.