The Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammad, has called on his colleagues on the bench of the Supreme Court to nominate suitable candidates for appointment as justices of the apex court.
The move, which was sequel to an earlier request by President Muhammadu Buhari, is aimed at meeting the constitutional requirements of 21 justices on the bench of the Supreme Court.
Recall that the Nigerian Supreme Court has 15 justices on the bench, after the voluntary retirement of former CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen earlier in June 2019.
However, a memo signed by the Acting CJN, stated that those to be nominated by the justices of the apex court must have proven competence to occupy the bench of the apex court.
The memo, a copy of which was sighted by journalists in Abuja, was titled ‘Appointment of Six Justices to the Supreme Court of Nigeria’.
It read: “By the provisions of section 230(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended, the Supreme Court of Nigeria shall consist of the CJN and such number of justices of the Supreme Court, not exceeding twenty-one, as maybe prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly.
“As there are 15 justices on the bench at present, it is necessary to take steps to fill the remaining six vacancies to make 21 justices.
“I shall be grateful if you could nominate suitable candidates for consideration for appointment as justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria”.
The Acting CJN added in the memo that nominations should be accompanied with 10 judgments delivered by nominee in contested cases in the last two years preceding the date of nomination in the case of judicial officers and 10 Judgments obtained in contested cases five years preceding the date of nomination in the case of legal practitioners in private practice and certified by competent authorities.
The justices in addition are requested to comment on the suitability of the candidates nominated by them.
The justices have up till Tuesday (today) to send in their nominees.