Attorney General of the Federation, AGF and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, has told the Federal High Court, Abuja, that President Muhammadu Buhari has discretionary powers to forward names of appointed judges of the Federal Capital Territory High Court to the Senate for confirmation.
Malami’s position was contained in a counter affidavit he filed before the court in a suit instituted by an Abuja-based lawyer, Deji Ekengba.
Ekengba is challenging President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to forward names of 11 candidates appointed as FCT High Court judges to the Senate for confirmation.
Recall that the President on July 7, forwarded the names to the Senate, prompting the legal action.
But Ekengba believes that Mr. President’s action runs contrary to Section 256(2) of Nigerian Constitution.
The AGF in the counter affidavit argued that “the action of the President of Nigeria in forwarding the names of 11 nominees for appointment as judges of the High Court of the FCT to the Senate for screening and confirmation is an exercise of his executive discretion.”
He therefore asked the court to dismiss the suit because the lawyer has no locus standi to institute it at the first instance.
At the resumed hearing on Monday, counsel to the AGF, Simiola Babalola, informed the court that the office has filed a counter affidavit and was ready for hearing.
But lawyers to the Senate and Senate President, Ugochukwu Isiguzo as well as that of the National Judicial Council, NJC, Abdullahi Hassan, informed the court that they have filed memoranda of conditional appearance.
Also, counsel to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Thomas Ojo, stated that his law firm has just been briefed and would need time to respond.
Consequently, Justice Inyang Ekwo adjourned the suit till August 12 for hearing.