The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti Central), on Wednesday, said the Senate does not need to confirm the 11 judges appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said according to Section 256 (2) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, the president only needs to make the appointments based on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council.
The president, in a letter to the Senate, sought the confirmation of 11 nominees as judges of the Federal High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Part of the letter read, “In accordance to Section 256(2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, I have the honour to forward for confirmation by the Senate, the under-listed names of eleven (11) nominees as Judges of the High Court of the FCT, Abuja…”
Although the president said the request for confirmation was in accordance to Section 256 (2) of the constitution, that part, however, states that “The appointment of a person to the office of a Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja shall be made by the president on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council.”
Section 256(1) says “the appointment of a person to the office of Chief Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja shall be made by the President on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council, subject to confirmation of such appointment by the Senate.”
In other words, only the chief judge of the FCT High Court needs to be confirmed by the Senate.
Coming under Order 43 of the Senate Standing Rule, Mr Bamidele, at the Senate Plenary, asked the lawmakers to take the president’s request as mere information.
“This is to bring to our notice that the Senate does not need to confirm the 11 judges appointed by Mr president…so we can address it in a non-controversial manner.
“…I’m saying we should just take the letter sent to us yesterday as mere information,” he said after making reference to the constitution.
The Senate, however, moved on without taking a stance on Mr Bamidele’s observation.
As soon as he finished talking, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, just asked the senate leader to continue with other activities for the day.
Mr Lawan did not even acknowledge Mr Bamidele’s observation or state if the senate would do as he advised.
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