Reps ask FCT Chief Judge to halt judges’ recruitment

The House of Representatives has urged the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Abuja, to halt recruitment process of judges into the 12 vacant positions in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.

The House stated that no action should be taken without compliance with the Federal Character Principle and Quota System.

The resolution followed adoption of a motion of urgent public importance by Rep. Igariwey Enwo of PDP-Ebonyi on the floor of the House in Abuja on Tuesday.

The motion is titled: “Urgent need to re-examine the list of proposed states to fill the 12 vacancies created to the disadvantage of others in the High Courts of FCT”.

Moving the motion, Enwo said the proposed list was expected to be sent to the National Judicial Council by Feb. 19 for vetting, and subsequently to the Senate for confirmation.

He noted that the number of judges of the FCT High Court must always reflect the 36 States and the FCT.

He argued that every state of the federation has judges appointed in the FCT High Court system except Ebonyi, Abia, Imo and Bayelsa States.

Enwo expressed concern that Ebonyi, in particular, has faced discrimination, adding that it had none of its judges appointed in the High Courts of the FCT.

He stated that Ebonyi was not listed as one of the states to apply for the vacant 12 positions sought to be filled.

“At least, seven Magistrates from the four states of Ebonyi, Abia, Imo and Bayelsa are currently qualified, and working in the FCT Court system as magistrates.

“In addition, there are qualified private legal practitioners from these states who are willing and eager to apply to fill these vacant positions”, he said.

The legislature decried the non-representation of judges from the four states in the FCT High Court system, when some others had as many as three judges representing them.

“This is a gross violation of the 1999 constitution which required staffing from the 36 States and the FCT”, Enwo said.

Adopting the motion, the house referred the matter to the Committees on FCT Judiciary and the Judiciary.

“This is for the purposes of investigating the Federal Character approval granted for the purpose and the extent of compliance thereto”, it said.

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