NJC Drops Wife of Ex-Gov Yahaya Bello from List of Judges Approved for Appointment into Kogi High Court

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

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

In the originating summons with suit no: FCT/ABJ/CS/05/2024, the plaintiffs are Chief Yunus Utsaz 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.

On October 26, 2023, about 17 SANs from Kogi State had called for the suspension of the appointment of the 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 Kogi State Judicial Service Commission, Justice Josiah Majebi, which was dated October 20, 2023.

Titled “RE: Provisional Shortlist 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 the basic facilities such as availability of courtrooms/Judge’s chambers, official cars, residential accommodations as well as equipped library in Judge’s chambers, citing rule 1-5 of National Judicial Council Revised Guidelines.

In the 12-point issued raised in the letter signed by Yunus Utsaz Usman, Life Bencher for himself and on behalf of 16 other SANs, the legal practitioner 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.