……sets up two vacation panels
By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA- The Supreme Court, on Thursday, said it has constituted two panels to continue hearing cases during its annual vacation that will commence on Monday.
Owing to the development, the apex court, in a statement that was signed by its Director of Press and Information, Dr Festus Akande, barred 10 Justices from proceeding on vacation.
It disclosed that the affected jurists would sit in two panels that would comprise of five Justices each.
The decision it said was necessitated by the numerous appeals that arose from conduct of the 2019 general elections.
According to the statement, “Two panels of the Supreme Court, comprising of five Justices each will be sitting during the annual vacation which marks the end of 2018/2019 legal year.
“This development arose from the numerous appeals on election-related matters that have been streaming to the Court since the conduct of the 2019 general elections.
“The annual vacation will commence on Monday 22nd July, 2019, but the Court has constituted two Panels that will be sitting during the holiday period in order to see that all election-related matters are dealt with.
“In view of this development, all parties involved will be contacted through hearing notices”.
It will be recalled that President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, had earlier cancelled annual vacation of appellate court Justices as a result of plethora of cases pending before various election petition tribunals across the federation.
Justice Bulkachuwa noted that since appeals were time-bound and would arise within the period of the court’s vacation that would July and October, the need arose for them to be heard and determined within the said period.
She disclosed that a total of 1,769 appeals were determined and 3,517 motions disposed off by the Court of Appeal between January and April, 2019.
“This is contained in the summary of cases in the Court of Appeal Divisions prepared by the Head, Legal Services Unit, Barrister Mrs. Adaeze Oby Aziwe and made available to the Media Officer of the Court.
“In the document, a total of 2,397 appeals and 5,120 motions were filed during the period under review.
“Similarly, reports filtering in from the office of the DCR, Court of Appeal, Election Petition Tribunal, Mrs. Rabi Abdulazeez Yakubu, Esq say that a total of 800 petitions were filed as at June 17, 2019.
“A breakdown of this figure shows that, State House of Assembly recorded the highest figure of 415, Senate 105, House of Representative 214, Governorship 62 and Presidential 4 Petitions.
“According to the facts sheets emanating from the 77 Election Petition Tribunals setup by the President of the Court of Appeal as at April 23, 2019, 65 petitions were either dismissed or struck out while 735 petitions are pending”, the A-Court stated.