Wife Of Fugitive Ex-Gov Yahaya Bello ‘Dropped From List Of Judges Approved For Appointment

The Nigerian Judicial Council (NJC) has finally dropped the name of Amina Bello, the wife of the fugitive and immediate past governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, from the list of nominees to be appointed as judges of the High Court of Kogi State.

On January 8 that seven Senior Advocates of Nigeria had sued the NJC and the Kogi State government for shortlisting Amina for appointment into the state’s judiciary.

 

In the Originating Summons with Suit No: FCT/ABJ/CS/05/2024, the Plaintiffs are Chief Yunus Ustaz Usman and J.S. Okutepa. Others namely Patrick Okolo, Abdullahi Haruna, Reuben Atabo, Shaibu Aruwa and Johnson Usman argued that the selection process violated regulations and constitutional principles of fairness, equity, and merit.

 

SaharaReporters reported on October 26, 2023, that about 17 SANs from Kogi State had called for the suspension of the appointment of new Judges into the state judiciary until certain criteria were met.

The lawyers made the demand in a letter to the Chief Judge and Chairman of Kogi State Judicial Service Commission, Justice Josiah Majebi, which was dated October 20, 2023.

Titled “RE: Provisional Short-list Of Candidates Of Ten Judicial Officers Of The High Court Of Justice Shariah Court Of Appeal And Customary Court Of Appeal,” the indigenous Kogi SANs stated that the appointment of Judges to superior courts of record is regulated and requires provision of basic facilities such as availability of courtrooms/Judges chambers, official cars, residential accommodation as well as equipped library in Judges’ chambers, citing Rules 1-5 of National Judicial Council Revised Guidelines.

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In the 12-point issue raised in the letter signed by Yunus Ustaz Usman, Life Bencher for himself and on behalf of 16 other SANs, the legal practitioners also pointed out that the proposed candidates listed for appointments of judges did not reflect a geographical spread. They described the list as lopsided and to the disadvantage of other parts of the state.

According to the letter, the candidates listed for the Customary Court of Appeal are all from Kogi Central. They noted that there was no candidate from Kogi East or Kogi West, adding that there were qualified persons from Kogi East and Kogi West who were not selected.

 

 

However, on Thursday, the former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Prof Chidi Odinkalu, took to his X (formerly Twitter) account to say the NJC appeared to have finally dropped Amina Yahaya Bello, wife of fugitive Yahaya Bello from the list of nominees to be appointed as judges of the High Court of Kogi State. He described it as a “defeat for the forces of #genitalization of the judiciary in #Nigeria.”

 

According to the post, the NJC approved four names for the appointment, namely: “Joseph Sunday Ajesola, Ojoma Rachael Ojoma, Bahamas Kadiri; and Ezema Beatrice Ada.”

He added that the NJC also recommended the appointment of five Kadis as well as a judge for the Customary Court of Appeal.

Thanking Yunus Ustaz (SAN) and Jibrin (SAN) for leading from the front, Odinkalu, who has been a vocal critic of the Nigerian judiciary, wrote: “Breaking: In a defeat for the forces of #genitalization of the judiciary in #Nigeria, @njcNig appears finally to have dropped Amina Yahaya Bello, wife of fugitive, @OfficialGYBKogi, from the list of nominees to be appointed as judges of the High Court of Kogi State.

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“Those approved for appointment are:

1. Joseph Sunday Ajesola

2. Ojoma Rachael Ojoma

3. Bahamas Kadiri; &

4. Ezema Beatrice Ada

 

“Also recommended are 5 Kadis as well as a judge for the Customary Court of Appeal.

 

“Thank u @jibrinSAN & Yunus Ustaz SAN for leading from the front.”

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