BY INNOCENT ANABA
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), has condemned the preferential treatment given to children and relations of serving Justices of the appellate courts in the appointment of judges for the high courts (states and federal)Â in the country.
The association also condemned the brazen disregard for the principle of Federal Character and discrimination against the South-East and South-South geo-political zones, in the appointment of Justices to the Court of Appeal.
It expressed regret that in the current list of proposed Justices for the Court of Appeal, the South East has non and only one in the case of the South-South.
NBA in a communique at the end of its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, also condemned the harassment of legal practitioners by the Police and other security agencies by way of unlawful arrest on trumped up charges on matters arising in the course of the performance of their lawful duties in court.
NBA NEC on the elevation of judges to the Court of Appeal, said â€œwe observed a systemic rot in the process of the appointments to the Court of Appeal bench.
We unequivocally condemned the ongoing appointments process into the superior courts of record especially the Court of Appeal and note in particular, the following glaring irregularities in the process of elevating judges to the Court of Appeal bench;
* Brazen disregard for the principle of Federal Character.
*Discrimination against the South-East and South-South geo-political zones, who have eight Justices each in the Court of Appeal in comparison with the North-West, the North-East, the South-West and the North-Central which have fourteen, twelve, eleven and ten Justices respectively and yet no person in the case of the South East and only one in the case of the South-South are in the current list of proposed Justicesâ€.
According to the communique, â€œNEC frowns at what appears to be the growing trend of hereditary succession in the appointments to the Bench wherein children and relations of serving Justices are given preferential treatment and we call for transparency in the appointments of judicial personnel and suggests that henceforth vacancies in the Judiciary be advertised in the media as a way of getting the best possible materialsâ€.
â€œIn this regard, NEC resolves to interdict the current list of eight nominees into the Court of Appeal with an advertised petition to the Federal Character Commission; and further reiterates its position that the NJC and all appointing authorities should always demand for the input of the National Bar into proposed appointmentsâ€, NBA said.